5 more Island communities start amalgamation process

Meadowbank, Afton, West River, Bonshaw and New Haven-Riverdale are accepting proposals to prepare a report looking at the pros and cons of amalgamation.

Roughly 3,200 people live in the 12,000-hectare area along P.E.I.'s south shore

These five communities west and south of Cornwall are in talks to amalgamate sometime in the next few years. (CBC)

Five communities south and west of Cornwall are taking the first step toward possible amalgamation.

Meadowbank, Afton, West River, Bonshaw and New Haven-Riverdale are accepting proposals to prepare a report looking at the pros and cons of amalgamation.

Proposals for the Municipal Growth Management Study are being accepted until Oct. 31.

Council members from each community have been meeting as part of the West River Group to consider the merger, using $60,000 in provincial funding for their report.

Would be P.E.I.'s 5th largest municipality

Roughly 3,200 people live in the 12,000-hectare area along P.E.I.'s south shore. If the communities band together as one municipality, they'll register as the fifth-largest municipality in the province.

Talks of amalgamation arrive after the province's new Municipal Government Act passed last year.

The legislation introduced minimum sizes for new municipalities to provide mandatory community and emergency planning services, as well as hours of operation for an office. 

This 54-page online guide was previously released to provide municipal leaders with a step-by-step process to examine issues related to restructuring and amalgamation. (CBC)

This new legislation is leading smaller municipalities, such as the five communities south and west of Cornwall, to consider pooling resources under one township to accommodate the government's goal of fewer but larger communities across the province.

The five community's report is expected to follow lengthy public consultation, in-person and online, as well as mapping out the region and consulting with smaller communities on the border of the areas.

Two to three years

The entire process could take two to three years, as outlined in the tender.

Eventually, the council of each municipality would vote on whether to move forward with the amalgamation.

None of the councillors from the various communities contacted by CBC News were prepared to speak about the proposal at this time.

With files from Kerry Campbell