The impressive attendance at a meeting of the Great Humber Joint Council gave a good idea of how important the topic of a regional governance model is for municipal leaders trying to keep their communities alive.
A private meeting of the council on Saturday had 35 municipal leaders gather for a discussion on what members want to see when the provincial government rolls out some form of regional governance pilot project in 2019.
Whether or not regional governance or the sharing of regional services is a step in the right direction with the province struggling right now has been hot topic with municipal leaders and the people had a chance to voice their opinion during a series of public consultations held earlier this year.
With its biggest crowd in the room for many months, council president Josh Carey of Corner Brook said there was a lively debate and discussion among some councils in the room.
He said a member council had a representative put forth an overview on the thought process in terms of what should be looked at when looking at regional governance or sharing services with a neighbour to keep costs down to those in attendance.
Every member council had a chance to voice their concerns at a round-table discussion and it became clear what direction they wanted to take.
“There was tremendous support for regional sharing of services. There wasn’t a community in the room that does not believe that we need to move forward with the sharing of regional services such that we can reduce the cost to the various municipalities,” Carey said. “Whenever you can reduce the cost to your taxpayer, as one person put it, then it’s worthy to explore.”
There were some models looked at that could potentially bring about positive change with regards to regional sharing of services and regional governance for all member councils to ponder during the discussion.
One of the member councils has taken on the responsibility of pulling all the information together that was discussed and present it back to the members over the next couple of weeks. The document will then be sent back to each municipal council and they are being asked to have informed discussion on the thoughts of collective group in terms of formulating some sort of structure for moving forward and what that structure would look like.
Carey said there will be another meeting of the Great Humber Joint Council in January. It is at this time, he said, that council will look at putting together a formal document that will move forward to the provincial government.
“That’s a road we wish to travel,” he said.