"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Friday, 29 April 2011

Strategic Plans

Metro Toronto existed  from 1954 until 1998 . Then the entire  area was amalgamated into the single city of Toronto.

 Metro's purpose was to preside over  growth  and  provide hard services in a logical and contiguous design  which eventually created a single urban municipality.

Boroughs within the area were reduced  sporadically  within the forty-three years. Decisions  of course were provincial. When duplicate top-heavy administrations no longer made sense  they were reduced to one.  Metro itself disappeared. The  City of Toronto survived as a huge megalopolis..

It took forty-three years. City problems are still immense. 

When I became Aurora's last Reeve and County Councillor, Metro was  fifteen years old. Toronto and York Roads Commissioner, the late  Jack Rettie was the number one official.  When Toronto and the Boroughs  separated from York County, Jack had the option of  going with Metro or staying with the County.

He chose the County. When  the Region  was created in 1971, he became Chief Administrative Officer.First solicitor of the Region was Ted Oakes. He had been  assistant solicitor in Metro.They were both a source of endless  information about their experiences. I soaked it up like a sponge.

York Region was the second  change in the County since the beginning , a hundred years before. The times they were exciting. Hopeful but by no means secure. Relations  between the Province and  municipalities were on a  more personal and co-operative level. An individual  could have an influence. A lone voice could be  heard.

I don't know the difference in the geographic area  between the Region and Metro. Responsibilities were the same. Objective was the same. Development would be controlled. Investment in public services would make sense.

Media coverage  was different. Political personalities in  the GTA  were familiar throughout.Much has changed but much has stayed the same.

Growth in York Region is taking  the same path  it did in Metro

The northern municipalities have seen growth but the area is still largely rural.

Now there is talk of Lake Simcoe being the resource for hard service to service the northern area. If that happens, development between here and Lake Simcoe will spread like wild fire.

Will it take another forty years. I doubt it.It took only forty-four  for Metro to become completely urbanised . A myriad of government  units disappeared gradually before final amalgamation of the city

The number of municipalities were reduced by half in the Region at the beginning. Aurora and Newmarket were shown as a single urban node. We fought that.We survived another forty years.

Newmarket is grown out almost completely to her boundaries. We have water and sewer allocations  for only fifteen thousand more people.

Council  just authorised a consultant study costing $80Ks for a strategic plan covering the next twenty years.

We have had a strategic plan since the mid nineteen-nineties. Updated every five years at minimal expense.

Now we are stretching our vision to twenty years. The Region is stretching its vision to fifty years.

The likelihood of either government's survival  is doubtful at best. Spending $80Ks on consultant's to hatch a strategy for twenty years ahead, at this time in our history,  is utter nonsense.

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