A Canadian perspective on council mergers

If you a sustainable urban development nerd like me then you’ll agree Jeb Brugmann is an important figure. He is a Canadian-based global expert in urban sustainability, climate change mitigation, and social enterprise. He founded ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability and wrote the book “Welcome to the Urban Revolution: How Cities Are Changing the World”. Last week he wrote on my facebook page an interesting comment in relation to local government mergers which is worth highlighting:

“Toronto (Canada) underwent a forced amalgamation with suburban municipalities more than a decade ago. The complete merging of council functions took 6-7 years, with lost efficiencies throughout the process. To this day, there remains a policy if not also cultural clash between the city core and suburban areas that has left almost everyone feeling like de-amalgamation might be the best solution.”

The lessons for the Fremantle/Melville and Perth/Vincent/Stirling boundary debates are clear. A similar thing happened on the Sunshine coast where several years after been amalgamated Noosa is now de-amalgamating with Maroochydore etc.

At the risk of endless repeating myself – I think larger local governments can be good but they have to be based around smart new boundaries with common communities not the dumb sticky-taping together of local government areas with little in common. This is at the very heart of the Fremantle Council’s approach. Josh Edge sent me the much clearer graphic of Freo’s preferred position below:

 

freo-council-boundaries4

 

About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
City of Fremantle Mayor

2 Responses to A Canadian perspective on council mergers

  1. dianaryan says:

    There’s been an active campaign to debunk the concept of “communities of interest”, from the Robson Review (Final Report in to Metro Local Govt Review) to one of the updates from the Minister for Local Govt on Reform, and interestingly when City of Canning did their late-in-the-piece community survey on preferred options for amalgamation, although they used the phrase community of interest, it also made the point at the end that there appears no real substance to the phrase.

  2. Ross McCallum says:

    It’s a no brainer. Small is beautiful but East Fremantle is too small to be sustainable and falls into the ‘common communities’ bag. There are so many examples world wide where amalgamating councils, provinces, states and countries leads to friction and in some cases even wars. Remember Yugoslavia?? Josh it would be even easier if it were a more transparent contrasting colour. Ross McCallum

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