Municipal Associations Look Forward to More Information on Provincial Government Approach to Regionalization
April 26, 2023
St. John’s, NL – After repeated calls for action, Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador (MNL) and the Professional Municipal Administrators (PMA) look forward to receiving more information on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s approach to regionalization, announced today by the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs.
MNL and PMA have advocated for regionalization for over two decades. In 2020, a Joint Working Group on Regionalization, with representation from both organizations and the Department, convened to work on this issue. The Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs released a report based upon this work in February 2022.
Today’s release focuses on shared services, with the commitment to exploring existing regional service board legislation as a possible tool for supporting this. While regional service boards are regional institutions, MNL and PMA note that regional service boards were established for a specific purpose in this province and are not necessarily the solution to addressing the challenges that have led to this discussion of the need for regionalization.
MNL and PMA agree that self-assessment is a healthy process for all communities and ask to be part of the process to design such a tool. Municipalities across the province are already being asked to do more with the same or fewer resources. Any evaluation process being asked of our municipal councils and administrators needs to be productive. Clear objectives must be communicated to our members.
MNL and PMA remain committed to working together with the Provincial Government to develop a strategic, regional approach to solving many of the challenges faced by our communities. While some communities across the province are successfully partnering with their neighbouring communities, there are also municipalities who cannot do so without a strategic framework on regionalization and support from the Provincial Government. The announcement of $500,000 in funding to support regional initiatives will help and more information is required.
Members of PMA and MNL will gather next week at the MNL annual symposium in Gander. Regionalization will be a topic of conversation with members and is on the agenda.
“Municipalities across the province continue to face significant challenges. They need support, resources, and a regional approach. While we are pleased to see movement on the regionalization file within government, we have questions and concerns. We need to be part of the process and we want to work with the Department going forward.” Amy Coady, MNL President
“Municipalities have long been looking for the tools to strengthen communities and our sector, and we welcome this update on the Regionalization Working Group’s recommendations and identifying future steps. We still believe the path to ensuring the sustainability of the municipal sector lies in more regional collaboration; which does include the sharing of services as outlined in the government release. We remain committed to working together with the Government of Newfoundland & Labrador and our partners at MNL to ensure that the municipal sector’s voices are heard as demographics change, populations shift and decrease, service needs increase and municipalities face an increasing number of challenges in capacity and sustainability.” Brian Hudson, PMA President