Wasaga Beach Rejects TBM Regional Government Idea

The Town of Wasaga Beach is not interested in pursuing a new model of regional government recently proposed by the Town of The Blue Mountains.

In a letter dated April 14, Wasaga Beach Mayor Nina Bifolchi advised the Blue Mountains council that her council was not interested in considering a new regional model. TBM Council will consider the mayor’s letter at its regular meeting on May 10.

“In summary, the Town of Wasaga Beach is not interested in being part of a Southern Georgian Bay Regional Government comprised of Meaford, Gray Highlands, Collingwood and Clearview,” Bifolchi states in the letter. “The Town of Wasaga Beach has the advantage of being part of Simcoe County and does not wish to be part of this review.”

In March, Blue Mountains Council asked its staff to prepare a report on the city‘s financial contributions to Gray County. Blue Mountains leaders have long expressed dissatisfaction with the amount the city pays Gray County versus the level of service it receives in return. At the time, the council also suggested that a new regional authority with neighboring municipalities be considered.

In her letter, Mayor Bifolchi said the Wasaga Beach Coordinating Committee passed a resolution rejecting the Blue Mountains regional suggestion. The resolution noted that Wasaga Beach had not been consulted about the idea in advance.

The resolution states:

“And Whereas there was no contact with the Town of Wasaga Beach prior to the motion being presented; And Whereas there was no consideration or consideration for the ratepayers of Wasaga Beach, Collingwood, or Clearview on the implications for those ratepayers of being part of a regional government with the City of The Blue Mountains, such ratepayers likely being invited to fund any funding shortfall of this new governance model; Be it resolved that the Council of the Town of Wasaga Beach advise the Town of The Blue Mountains that Wasaga Beach likes to be part of the Simcoe County governance structure and has no desire to be part of the review; And be it further resolved that Council for the Town of Wasaga Beach indicate to the Town of The Blue Mountains that it will strongly oppose any regionalization effort.

TBM Mayor Alar Soever and Councilor Rob Sampson, who presented the resolution passed by The Blue Mountains, expressed disappointment that neighboring municipalities were not interested in exploring other options.

“Councillor Sampson’s motion simply asked staff to provide additional financial analysis on our relationship with the county in terms of finance and service delivery, and compare it to a possible alternative governance arrangement that may or may not better serve our residents and provide better value for their taxes,” said Soever, who emphasized that he was not commenting on behalf of the council, but was giving his personal thoughts on the matter. “South Georgian Bay was chosen because it is the most logical alternative. It is the responsibility of all councils to make every effort to ensure that their residents get the best value for their taxes. This is what we do.

Sampson echoed the mayor’s sentiments and said there was more to his resolution than the governance component.

“The purpose of the motion was to review service delivery to ensure that we are providing our taxpayers with the services they want and need, and in the most efficient and effective way. It’s something councils should do on a regular basis,” Sampson said. “It is indeed unfortunate that some politicians saw this motion solely as a review of the governance model. Governance model analysis is only appropriate once the service delivery is fully analyzed and the appropriate data assembly has taken place – the gist of the motion.

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