Essex Town Council is Saying No to More Amalgamation

AM800-News-Essex-Town-Hall

The Town of Essex is saying no to any further amalgamation.

Councillor Sherry Bondy brought a motion to council Monday night calling for a proactive approach to letting the province know the town is not interested in any future restructuring.

Bondy says residents are getting the services they need under the current model and she fears the town may become responsible for the problems of other municipalities if amalgamation were to move forward.

Bondy says she just wants to be ahead of the game.

"Maybe we are jumping the gun. Maybe we are being a little bit too proactive, but I think that's kind of my style. I want to get ahead of it because if the province tells us we're going to amalgamate, we don't have a choice, but right now we should start sending them smoke signals like we don't want to amalgamate," she says.

Bondy says it's a concerns she's heard from many residents.

"Right now, our community is looking for leadership out of us. There's turmoil due to the pandemic and then we have a consultant saying it is not outlandish for another round of amalgamation to come. So that's where our residents are. They're looking for leaders to be leading and I'm bringing this forward on their behalf," she says.

Councillors Chris Vander Doelen and Steve Bjorkman voted against the motion, stating it's addressing a problem that is yet to come up.

Bondy feels it doesn't hurt to speak up.

"I've learned a few hard lessons. One of the hard lessons is maybe we didn't get ahead of the Harrow High School closing soon enough. We took the word of the school board. They told us they weren't going to close us for five years and they closed us in year three. So I have a little lit of a lack of trust with higher levels of government and other boards," she adds.

Council voted in favour of sending a letter to the province citing the town's stance on further amalgamation.