6 regional councilors announce support for amalgamation of Waterloo Region

The Region of Waterloo administrative building on Frederick Street in Waterloo. Kevin Nielsen / Global News

Six councillors with the Waterloo Regional Council held a joint press conference Wednesday morning to push for amalgamation of the region’s communities and townships.

“Waterloo Region has an outdated and cumbersome governance system that gets in the way of us achieving our true potential, and its time for change,” the group said in a letter pleading their case for the unification of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and the four surrounding townships.

“To sort out roles, staff at the region and area municipalities must spend an inordinate amount of time talking  to their colleagues trying to determine the eternal question: Who does what?” the letter read.

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The councillors said amalgamation would reduce red tape and duplication in the provision of services.  “Staff operating with in one city would be focused on advancing the needs of our nearly 630,000 residents rather than trying to keep the peace in the regional family…”

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Among those on board with regional unification are Jim Erb and Chantal Huinik who represent Waterloo, as well as the four Kitchener regional councillors: Robert Deutschmann, Michael Harris, Colleen James and Kari Williams.

Notable in their absence of support are the two councillors from Cambridge, Doug Craig and Pam Wolf, as well as all the mayors on council and regional chair Karen Redman.

Last month, the Ontario government announced it is looking to dissolve the Region of Peel and will also be looking into the setups of other upper-tier municipalities, including the Waterloo Region.

The province said it would announce a regional facilitator in the next few weeks to consider whether the regional government setup is meeting the needs of those living in the area.

This will not be the first time the Ford government has looked at the municipal structure of Waterloo Region.  There was also talk in 2019 of amalgamating the three cities and four townships into a single entity.

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