Toronto

Mississauga just got one step closer to leaving Peel Region

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie's bid for the city of nearly 800,000 to separate from Peel Region won the support of council on Wednesday.

Mayor Bonnie Crombie's motion won the support of city council Wednesday but Brampton is opposed

Mayor Bonnie Crombie's motion cites 'competing priorities' among member municipalities in Peel, which includes Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga. Mississauga, the motion says, is Ontario's third-largest city and the sixth largest in Canada. (Mehrdad Nazarahari/CBC)

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie's bid for the city of nearly 800,000 to separate from Peel Region won the support of council on Wednesday, bringing the prospect of the municipality governing its own affairs closer to reality.

But if Mississauga were to stand on its own, it would have a "significant debt" to pay to fellow Peel municipality Brampton, that city's mayor Patrick Brown said reacting to news of Crombie's motion. 

"Analysis shows we send $85M to the Region to fund the growth of other cities. This is not fair to residents and businesses," Crombie tweeted Wednesday.

"Our money should go towards Mississauga priorities. We must be able to govern our affairs and set our vision without interference."

The motion calls on the province to pass legislation to consider Mississauga a "single-tier" municipality — meaning it would be governed municipally and not be subject to a second layer of regional governance — and to maintain its current borders, saying the city is opposed to amalgamating with any other municipality.

"We see cities like Windsor, London, Guelph, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay... they're single-tier, they're independent. Why shouldn't Mississauga have the ability to control our own destiny as well?" Crombie said in an interview with CBC Toronto. 

If the province doesn't grant single-tier status to the city, the motion says, Ontario should distinguish the roles of the different tiers to cut down on duplication.

It's not the first time secession from the region has come up. During her tenure as mayor, Hazel McCallion campaigned for it as well. Crombie took over the fight with city council voting in favour of studying whether the city should cede from Peel in 2016. 

Crombie's motion cites "competing priorities" among member municipalities in Peel, which includes Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga. Mississauga, the motion says, is the Ontario's third-largest city and the sixth largest in Canada.

'Ripping up region' not necessary, says Brown

While participation in a region makes sense for municipalities that "would otherwise not have the financial capacity" to fund their own services, the motion argues Mississauga does. 

In addition, it cites "unnecessary duplication of the same services" between Mississauga and the region as whole.

Brown says he's not opposed to taking a look at possible duplication and trying to cut costs, but says "ripping up the region" isn't the solution.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown reacted to Crombie's motion by saying if Mississauga were to stand on its own, it would have a 'significant debt' to pay his city, which is also part of Peel Region. (Mehrdad Nazarahari/CBC)

"I know the province is undergoing this exercise of regional governance review," he said, adding his own focus is on addressing things like hallway medicine, the growing need for infrastructure in what is Canada's fastest-growing city and transportation.

"Brampton for years has helped subsidize Mississauga's infrastructure," he said citing Mississauga's water treatment centre and regional roads.

Crombie says that argument is "disingenuous," pointing out Mississauga provides 59 per cent of funding to Peel, but has just 50 per cent of the vote at regional council.

But Brampton and Mississauga do currently pool key services such as waste management — something Brown says helps both cities keep costs down.

If Mississauga opts to go it alone, Brown says, he'd like to see Brampton compensated for paying into that city's growth.

Before finalizing its position, the city plans to hold a community meeting in early April, Crombie says.  

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