Do we need more regional councillors

Region of Halton

In a recent decision by Halton Regional Council, they are going to review the number of councillors. Normally I would be opposed to something like this but I am interested in what is going to be discussed in this review.

You would have to be living under a rock to not know how fast Milton is growing. If you take a look at the existing structure you will see a drastic imbalance in the representation. Maybe a few years ago, it was fine because of the population distribution but right now, and in the coming years, Milton is out numbered.

So … when do we increase? When the growth is finished or do we make gradual changes as the population changes? Its a tough call.

Our regional councillors and Mayor Krantz (Milton’s 3 representatives) have a tough road to haul over the next few years. As Milton grows in population, so will the demand on their time and the resources available to them.

There will be some talk needed about the increase in population in all three municipalities that encompass the Region of Halton. At this point, if Milton required some changes, they could possibly be outvoted by the 2 other municipalities at the drop of a dime.

Its important to the success of regional council that there be some equity in the representation. Its a topic that needs to be discussed and a time line developed as quickly as possible in order to maintain a much needed and fair balance at the region.

As expected the possible changes were met with some resistance from Oakville and Burlington regional councillors. The overall intent of the committee shouldnt be just to figure out if we “need” more politicians, but to make sure the balance of all towns/cities is kept in Halton. Recently, the Champion did an article on the recent decision.

Committee to look at representation
Melanie Cummings, Special to the Champion
Published on Sep 21, 2007

Halton councillors may have to make room for more politicians around the council table, depending on the outcome of a newly created committee.

Regional council gave the go ahead Wednesday to establish the Regional Representation Review Sub-Committee that will examine the appropriateness of the current number of council members.

The four mayors from Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills and Milton, plus Regional Chair Gary Carr will examine whether more councillors are needed and report back to the administration and finance committee by March 2008.

Oakville Councillor Keith Bird said that mayors and the regional chair were chosen to study the issue so as to eliminate any self-interest affecting the recommendations.

The suggestion to set up a sub-committee on the topic barely made its way to council Wednesday as it was narrowly approved at last week’s administration and finance committee meeting.

Halton Hills Councillor Clark Somerville said at the committee meeting that he was opposed to the concept.

“I don’t think there are people out there saying, ‘We need more politicians,'” he said. “I think we have a model that’s working right now.”

But Burlington Councillor Rick Craven disagreed.

“From my point of view in the City of Burlington, members of council are generally feeling overwhelmed. The paper work alone is truly amazing,” he said. “It’s time to study this question and we have the time to do it right. Let’s get on with it.”

While Milton Mayor Gord Krantz said he has no problem taking a look at the current representation, he concurred with Somerville that there’s not a big demand in the community for more politicians.

Carr said there are more fundamental issues council needs to deal with and said any decision to increase representation would have to get approval from the provincial government.

2 Replies to “Do we need more regional councillors”

  1. You raise some valid points Mike. Its a tough call to decide when this should happen but until it does happen Milton is at a decided disadvantage at the Region of Halton.

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