At any given time, Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Kent said the province deals with a number of amalgamation requests.
“That type of regionalization has to be community initiated,” said Kent. “It has to be community driven. We won’t force amalgamation against the will of citizens.”
In recent years, Kent said successes in amalgamation have been seen on Fogo Island, in Roddickton-Bide Arm and the Local Service District of Random Sound West, which expanded to include North West Brook-Ivany’s Cove and Queen’s Cove.
Kent said the amalgamation process is a five stage one that begins with the receipt of a request from the communities. That’s followed by initial discussions with the communities, the setting up of a needs assessment committee, a feasibility study and in the fifth stage a proposal prepared by the communities goes before government for consideration.
Kent said analysis of that proposal takes into account the essential nature of the request, the impact on the feasibility of amalgamation and the associated cost implications.
Once a decision is made to amalgamate the province signs a legal order that brings the amalgamation into effect on a certain date.
Kent said the cost to complete an amalgamation would be minor and mostly involve administrative costs.
“Because you have to set up a new organizational structure,” he said. “So, while there will be efficiencies, there are some costs to be incurred in carrying out that transition.”