Doorstep debate as we canvas Ward 9 neighbourhoods includes the subject of amalgamation.
A question about the issue will be on the October 25 ballot. The question will not request a yes or no answer on amalgamation but will ask if voters support further debate about annexing Kitchener and Waterloo.
As I have already written in one of my Waterloo Region Record opinion columns (TheRecord.com) I’m against amalgamation because I’ve always been skeptical about larger, more autocratic forms of government that distance voters from elected representatives. At the same time, I support municipalities finding ways to share services, increase efficiency and save taxpayer dollars.
I find the debate about amalgamation somewhat ironic because it surfaces at the very time Kitchener council has decided to improve voter access to municipal decisions by increasing its membership from six to 10 councillors. Hopefully that overdue move will make councillors more accountable to voters.
I also worry we might have another depressingly low voter turnout this election. It dropped to 25 per cent in 2006 and, if that’s repeated and we have 51 per cent of voters of that total deciding we should discuss amalgamation, a very small number of residents will determine a very important decision.
It also worries me that non-elected business lobbyists are pushing hard for amalgamation.
Too bad they don’t invest similar energy into ways to improve voter turnout.