Meeting date: 28 July 2016
Location: Bites Cafe, Hampton
Attendance: approximately 50 people
What we learned
The following are some overall themes we took from the comments made on paper and in person. The written comments are provided below.
- There are varying views on the merits of incorporation, annexation, and amalgamation.
- Residents are very concerned about various issues affecting the future of their communities, in both incorporated and unincorporated areas.
- People want to have a say in whatever changes are proposed for their communities.
- Based on this meeting, there is currently no consensus on municipal reform. Much work still needs to be done.
What services do you use locally in your community?
- Water & Sewer
- Rec. Centre
- Black Fly Program
- Snow Clearing
- Highway Maintenance
- Community Hall
- Waste Watch
- Post Office
Would you rather live in a municipality or an unincorporated area?
|Strongly in favour of a municipality
||In favour of a municipality
||On the fence
||In favour of an unincorporated area
||Strongly in favour of an unincorporated area
- Due to the low number of participants in the activity, the results may not be reflective of the entire population’s views.
Group Discussion Comments
- The coloured points in each “Topic of Discussion” represent the different people who wrote comments.
|Topic of Discussion
- Any community amalgamation should have watershed access.
- What type of community will you have if in 20 years you have no water access?
- Who came up with the 4000 number?
- What becomes of the areas that do not have 4000?
- 4000 – based on summer of winter?
- Tax base would include both.
- Each community should keep control of their own assets. Have local hall/park committees to manage assets
- Need creative ways to do assessments
- Extra $ for communities with an asset like a park or community
- Need to know what the Census info is for informed discussion of amalgamation but not available till Feb 2017
- How to find out population of unincorporated areas
- Worried about Cornwall not letting North River Fire District amalgamate and shut them out (of O’Leary)
- Cumberland (Afton)
- Kelly’s Cross
- St. Catherines (West River)
|Local Control/Rep & Land Use
- Farmers are concerned about:
- Protection of farmland and the “Right to farm”
- Development process/rezoning
- Appropriate level of government that should hand* land use planning for farmland
- Will more heavily populated areas have better representation and services than more rural/less populated areas?
- If this happens:
- Build in a review process into the way it unfolds. Give everyone a chance to re-think it. For example at 1 year in to make sure it is beneficial to all.
- We can’t be sure that more & more regulations won’t be added on in future. We won’t have a say anymore once we say ok to the amalgamation.
- Costs of all land use regulation get passed on to the people. The ones who are impacted greatly are the low-income families. Costs of buying permits for by-laws. Also the costs of complying to increased regulations.
- I lived through Dartmouth/Halifax/Bedford amalgamation to Metro. No one responds well to having their concerns lumped together.
- Mostly Peter’s district
|Process (Forced vs. Consultation)
- Province needs to mediate (ensure objectivity) not impose
- Open and clear communication essential between municipality and residents & get input wishes of individuals residents. Ex: door to door contact seeking input, public meetings – well advertised.
- Maybe communities should be pro-active in the process – or is it too late.
- Province to consider budgetary requirements for community advertisements etc – not municipality.
- Negative attitudes from province towards municipalities.
- Amalgamation connecting communities with very different “personalities”.
- Places to Consult (Already Amalgamated):
- Stratford – Southport, Bunbury, Kepoch Kinlock, Crossroads
- Montreal!! (joined by force; later split apart) (legal process)
- The South Shore United Church amalgamation! Did it work? financially
- We need to be able to vote yeah or nay for a community forming not have it imposed.
|Loss of Identity
- Can smaller communities keep their present name or will they have a new name?
- Will cultural communities be kept together? Ie Irish communities
- Without our “identity” – what do we have?
- What IS our IDENTITY?
- What do we fear Losing?
- What do we want to keep/preserve/maintain?
- What can we do to preserve it after an amalgamation?
- Could a new tier of governance (metropolitan/regional districts) keep the unique qualities of small communities but facilitate collaboration and amalgamation over larger areas?
- Fair Taxes ie agricultural land & shorefront land
- Agricultural land within municipalities tanned at higher rate – lesser rebate than provincial taxes.
- Concern that tax rate will increase if forced to join larger community such as Cornwall. Cornwall tax rate is three times higher than Kingston community.
- Want to maintain low tax rate and still provide same services to local community (Kingston).
- This seems to be a BIG concern. I hear it from neighbours a lot. Realistically, more services = more taxes – we must be realistic.
Here is a list of some of the information available on municipal reform on PEI. Many of these were used to inform the background presentation.
From the provincial government website (new June 2016)
General information on municipalities, including: definitions; directory; maps; and descriptions of how municipalities function.
Viable Municipalities for PEI
Description of government’s vision for municipalities, including: information on the upcoming Municipal Government Act; information on incorporation, annexation, and amalgamation; FAQs on municipal restructuring and taxation; explanation of municipal viability criteria; and funding for growth management studies.
Land Use Planning
Information on the why, what, who, and how of land use planning.
Prince Edward Island Municipal Boundaries Map
Map of Fire Districts
Report of the Task Force on Land Use Policy (2014) (aka. Handrahan Report)
The Gift of Jurisdiction: Our Island Province: Report of the Commission on the Lands Protection Act (2013) (aka. Carver Report)
New Foundations: Report of the Commission on Land and Local Governance (2009) (aka. Thompson Report)
A Study on Prince Edward Island Local Governance (2007) IRIS Group
Report of the Municipalities Act Review Committee (2005)