Collingwood council supported Mayor Brian Saunderson’s pitch to create a forum of area mayors and chief administrative officers to discuss regional approaches to issues impacting municipalities in the area.
Saunderson tabled his motion to create a roundtable earlier this month and council voted unanimously last night in support of it.
The idea is to have mayors and CAOs from Collingwood, Clearview, Wasaga Beach, Grey Highlands, and The Blue Mountains meet regularly for the purpose of discussing issues impacting the region and what solutions there are that the municipalities could work together on.
“This is something that’s been around in practice, but has never been formalized,” said Saunderson during last night’s meeting (Jan. 25). “We’ve seen a number of issues come up with local and regional impacts.”
The mayor cited issues such as transportation, attainable housing, homelessness, and arts and culture, all of which, he said, could benefit from a regional lens.
“There are many very big piece items we’re wrestling with,” he said. “The impacts need to be looked at regionally to achieve the best results for our residents in the region.”
Councillor Mariane McLeod asked about budget implications.
The mayor and Collingwood CAO Sonya Skinner said the committee would be having discussions to bring back proposals to their respective councils and wouldn’t be making decisions with significant impact on the town’s budget.
Councillor Yvonne Hamlin said people who live in the region don’t see municipal boundaries as all that important, and so she too supported the regional forum.
“This says we want to deliver services effectively and efficiently … why don’t we just come up with the best answer for everyone?” she said. “The more we do things together, the larger the cloud we have in upper levels of government.”
The motion passed with unanimous support. Mayor Saunderson said last week he would be reaching out to the neighbouring municipalities formally once he had support from Collingwood council via a vote.