Amalgamation wouldn't destroy Eastern P.E.I. community's identities, assures mayor
Report released Wednesday proposes communities join together for more money, services and land use protection
Seven eastern P.E.I. communities being considered for amalgamation won't "lose their identity," assures the mayor of Georgetown.
A report released Wednesday proposes Brudenell, Cardigan, Georgetown, Lorne Valley, Lower Montague, Montague and Valleyfield amalgamate to create a new community with a population of 7,744.
That would make it the fourth-largest community on P.E.I.
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"The communities are not going to lose their identity," said Georgetown Mayor Lewis Lavandier, who speaks on the report for the seven community councils.
"That was one of the big concerns the community councils had from the get-go and we've discussed that and we can get around that. We can keep the names, keep our identities. And that is big in this area and we're going maintain that if anything like this happens."
He feels residents will buy into the idea of amalgamation knowing that protection of what makes the communities unique is a major concern for the councils.
"They'll be more relaxed that we're doing the best we can for our citizens."
The report, written by Phil Woods and Associates and Derek French, says a larger area would have more clout to lobby the provincial government for more money and would better equip the area for things like policing, recreation and administration.
And it could mean better land use protection.
Lavandier said the document is a starting point for further discussions.
"We have to do everything we can and look at all the options that are available to us," said Lavandier.
"If we're going to be good leaders and good community leaders, we have to look at everything that's going to benefit our communities and we feel there's enough things in that report that show us that it may be the way to go and, if so, we're going to explore those options and see what it means at the end of the day."
Some area residents are in favour of amalgamation.
"In an area where it's hard to gather taxes, it gives a bigger tax base," said Valleyfield resident Brian Swanson.
"Those of us who live out there might complain a bit but it might be worth the general area, we need to be able to spend our resources to keep communities together."
Joan MacDonald of Whim Road said, "I don't think it's a good idea because they have sewer and water and all that stuff here. And what about those other communities? Are they going to provide that too?"
The councils of the seven communities encourage residents to read the report in preparation for the public consultations in the new year.
"We want to have this really transparent. We want the people to realize what's taking place," said Lavandier.