Comment 60461

By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted March 01, 2011 at 14:24:50

Many people are under the illusion that there is a simple "solution" to this problem. The one I hear most frequently is de-amalgamation.

Expand your horizons a bit and acknowledge that, with rare exceptions, no problem that our society faces today has a simple solution. If it did - it would have been solved already. The problems we face today are multi-faceted and complex involving many different views, theories, priorities, and interests, and there is no "easy way out" we have to slog it out in the trenches (as the citizens' committee appears to have done) and come to some kind of resolution.

Perhaps that resolution should be de-amalgamation (although personally I'm not in favour of it). However, to anyone who suggest de-amalgamation, I would point out that it is extremely unlikely things will ever go back to "the way they were". The impetus for amalgamation was to joint Hamitlon together with its neighbours so that they might all pay their fair share of services that Hamilton provides, and that are unavailable in the other communities. Previously some services were shared regionally, but with downloading the province thought it best to create a more inclusive regime of shared costs.

If you are to separate Hamilton and the surrounding municipalities, I'm willing to bet that the "terms of separation" will require cost-sharing much more like our present regime than our past regime.

The province is unlikely to permit the "rural" and "suburban" areas of the former Hamilton-Wentworth County to get away with decreased cost sharing, as such a move would put the province under greater pressure to provide additional budget support to the city to help cover enormous costs of social services located in Hamilton, and strangely absent from many of the surrounding former municipalities.

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