Talk­ing re­gional gov­ern­ment

Nor'wester (Springdale) - - FRONT PAGE - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON

CAR­BON­EAR, NL — Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Ed­die Joyce prom­ises not to force amal­ga­ma­tion on any towns.

He made the state­ment dur­ing a public con­sul­ta­tion on re­gional gov­er­nance in Car­bon­ear. It’s some­thing he has said pre­vi­ously as well.

Joyce said gov­ern­ment sim­ply wants feed­back that can aid the work of an ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee de­vel­op­ing pi­lot projects for re­gional gov­er­nance. Those projects are ex­pected to start in 2019.

“Tell us what we can do,” he said. “We know the de­mo­graph­ics of the prov­ince are shift­ing. Ev­ery­body in this room knows that. We all know that. We know there have got to be changes.”

Emily Thomp­son, man­ager of com­mu­nity co-op­er­a­tion with the prov­ince, gave a pre­sen­ta­tion that out­lined some of the key is­sues un­der­lin­ing the need for more col­lab­o­ra­tion among towns. She gave the same pre­sen­ta­tion in Baie Verte last week.

Towns with de­clin­ing, aging pop­u­la­tions struggle to fill coun­cil va­can­cies and may not have ac­cess to the rev­enue nec­es­sary to pro­vide ser­vices res­i­dents ex­pect. More than half of all mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the prov­ince as of 2016 have a pop­u­la­tion be­low 500. Among towns in close prox­im­ity, there may be an un­nec­es­sary du­pli­ca­tion of ser­vices. Lo­cal ser­vice dis­tricts (LSDs) gen­er­ally pro­vide fewer ser­vices and in many cases are lo­cated near towns with an ac­tive coun­cil. These LSDs find them­selves re­ly­ing on neigh­bour­ing com­mu­ni­ties or the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment to ad­dress ser­vice short­com­ings.

CORY HUR­LEY/THE NOR’WESTER

Emily Thomp­son, man­ager of com­mu­nity co-op­er­a­tion with the prov­ince, gave a pre­sen­ta­tion that out­lined some of the key is­sues un­der­lin­ing the need for more col­lab­o­ra­tion among towns.

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