Residents Now Have The Power To Return To A Regional Government System

Robert Kirwan
Valley East Today


The issue of municipal amalgamation is never going to go away. Many people would like to return to a regional government system as we had until 2001 when all former municipalities were joined together to form the City of Greater Sudbury . The cost of that amalgamation was in the neighbourhood of $30 million. Much of the funding for that process came from surplus funds that were in the bank accounts of the former municipalities and from increased local taxes. While there has been much debate on whether the “economies of scale” with a centralized governance structure have been realized, there seems to be general consensus that the overall goals and objectives of amalgamation have not been achieved. There were many promises that have yet to be met.

On January 25, 2006 , Ward 2 Councillor, Claude Berthiaume suggested to his fellow councillors that the City hold a referendum on amalgamation during the November 13, 2006 election. His main argument was that residents of outlying communities such as Valley East and Capreol have in fact been “disenfranchised” by amalgamation and they should have an opportunity to speak out during the election.

Berthiaume had hoped to allow a community-wide debate on the issue, but he was supported by only one other councilor, Ward 3’s Andre Rivest, who is well known for his negative opinion on amalgamation. As a result, Council defeated the motion for a referendum, due in large part to the potential cost of “de-amalgamation” as well as the fact that the decision was a responsibility of the Provincial Government.


Regardless of one’s disposition to amalgamation vs regional government, it is clear that during the past five years the infrastructure that supported regional government has been completely destroyed. It would be virtually impossible to go back to a system whereby each of the seven municipalities operated independently. Therefore, the Council was correct in defeating the motion for a referendum, because holding a referendum would merely have given the local residents some false hope. The results of the vote are likely predictable, but even with a vote against amalgamation, not much could be done about it except get people more riled up and stir up even more negative emotions about the City of Greater Sudbury .


Despite the fact that reverting back to a form of Regional Government is impossible from an “official” standpoint, residents of the City of Greater Sudbury are now in a position to take matters into their own hands and return to the “spirit of regional government” on November 13, 2006 . In fact, the battle lines have been drawn and the advantage is now in the hands of the outlying communities to take action, if indeed, they have the desire.


            The new ward structure has created the former “inside-outside” system that was a major element of regional government. For example, consider the following:

Wards that are completely within “outside community boundaries”

Ward 2:                        
Copper Cliff and Walden

Ward 3:                       
and Onaping Falls

Ward 6:                        
Val Therese and Hanmer

Ward 7:                        
Capreol, Skead, Garson and Falconbridge

Ward 9:                        
Coniston, Wahnapitae, Wanup, and
Broder Township

Wards that are completely within the former City of Sudbury boundaries:

Ward 1:                       
West End
, Gatchell, Copper Park , Robinson and Moonglo

Ward 8:                        
Sudbury (East of Barrydowne Road )

Ward 10:           
Lockerby, Lo-Ellen, University area, Kingsmount,
Bell Park , Downtown

Ward 11:          
, New Sudbury (West of Barrydowne); South of Lasalle Blvd.

Ward 12:           
Flour Mill; Downtown; New

Wards that are mixed:

Ward 5:                        
Val Caron,
Blezard Valley , McCrea Heights and Cambrian Heights (This area is predominantly within the community of Valley East )

Ward 4:                        
Azilda, Elm West and Donovan (This area is predominantly within the community of
Sudbury )


            Therefore, upon close examination, the issue of amalgamation vs regional government is clearly in the hands of the electorate on November 13, 2006 . Councillors from Wards 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, and 5 will be elected by people from the outlying communities. Councillors from Wards 1, 8, 10, 11, 12, and 4 will be elected by people from the former City of Sudbury .

            If the election platforms of the Councillors are clear to the public, then voters are in a position to elect representatives who support the “spirit of regional government” and those Councillors will be in a position to force policy which will see a return to the level of services that existed prior to 2001.


            The critical vote at the Council table will be that of the Mayor. We are in a position to return to a potential 6 – 6 tie vote on many of the major issues. The Mayor’s will be the deciding vote. This implies that the outlying communities must elect a Mayor who clearly supports the “spirit” of regional government.

            To anyone considering running for Mayor of the City of Greater Sudbury , the message is clear. If you want to get the support of the outlying areas, you must come out strongly in favour of returning to this spirit of regional government. You can explain that it will be impossible to “unscramble the egg”, but that does not mean that we cannot adopt policies within our current structure that is consistent with regional government.

            The battle for Mayor, therefore, will determine the will of the people and there will be no need for a referendum which will prove nothing. If the result is the election of twelve Councillors who are in favour of moving forward in the same direction to which we have been accustomed for the past five years, then so be it. It means that the people will have spoken and we can put the issue of amalgamation and de-amalgamation to rest.

            As long as candidates are willing to “lay it on the line” with respect to their position on regional government vs amalgamation, instead of “sugar-coating” their feelings, then we will be able to come up with a clear conclusion on November 13, 2006 . It means an election based upon “principles” instead of “personalities”. I wonder if the residents of Greater Sudbury are prepared to wage that battle in a municipal election?









The only way to put 'almagamation and de-almagamation' to rest is to elect a government which believes in a regional government.  We must make our voices heard.  Beware City of Greater Sudbury Councillors your jobs are on the line.  It's time to tell us what you stand for.

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