Amalgamation aprehension

A letter writer from Port Colborne does not trust us Northies to govern responsibly with our population majority:

To formalize the institution as a single elected body, with a majority based in communities in the north of Niagara, whilst condemning those communities in the south to a perpetual minority and with no say as recognizable and different individual communities can only lead to those already seen to be without proper representation losing even that marginalized representation.

In all honesty, I can’t imagine what pressing issues face Port Colborne which aren’t faced by other stagnating, Southern-tier municipalities. It doesn’t seem to me like a very high-maintenance community to govern, but maybe that opinion is indictment enough in the eyes of people from Port Colborne.

The reality is that any marginally democratic arrangement of this new (and so far, hypothetical) City of Niagara would leave Port Colborne in the minority. There just aren’t enough people living in it – or Fort Erie, or Thorold, or any other smallish city – to throw much weight around at council.

To the writer’s claim that north Niagara would be able to use its dastardly majority to crush Port Colborne, it really depends where you draw the line between “north” and “south.” From my point of view in St Catharines, the escarpment is a natural place to divide Niagara, but if that is the case the north is actually slightly outnumbered, 45 to 55.

What should really worry the people of Port Colborne is if the big three – St Catharines, Niagara Falls, and Welland – are able to stop bickering over hospitals and police headquarters long enough to implement mutally beneficial big-city policies. They really do have a majority, and although cooperation seems far-fetched today, it is the only way Niagara is going to get ahead in the new economy.

The future of this region – the focus of growth, activity, and challenges – will not, for most people, be in Port Colborne or any other small centre. This should be reflected in the structure of a City of Niagara.

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4 responses to “Amalgamation aprehension

  1. Of course the feeling that your communit is going to be screwed by the others depends on your insular belief in that community. Ask how many people now care about how dreadful amalgamation will be for Merriton, Grantham, Port Dalhousie. A generation ago the residents of these areas were appalled at being included in St Catharines. If amalgamation ever comes to pass a generation form now people will be citizens of Niagara and not worrying about their previous communities.

  2. If anything amalgamation came too late for Merritton. I know I’m not backing this up with any links, but I heard that the Pen Centre opened in Merritton not long before amalgamation because St Catharines wouldn’t have it. The Pen Centre killed Merritton’s old downtown (and gave all Niagara downtowns and even other malls a run for their money in the long term).

    But that’s just an anecdote, not an argument for amalgamation. Obviously it depends what you do with the new city. Mississauga probably wasn’t a great deal for Streetsville, Port Credit, or any of the farmland in between.

  3. the Pen Center did open before amalgamation but at the time it was a very small mall with about 10 stores. A grocery a drug store, hardware store, barber shop and a couple of others. The entire plaza only extended to about the spot where the radio shack store is now. It wasn’t that that killed Merriton business at least not till well after amalgamation.

  4. This is why transplants shouldn’t be allowed to blog about local issues unsupervised. Thanks for the clarification. 🙂

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