Fresh from last month’s election win, Ontario has started discussions on giving ‘strong mayor’ powers to the cities of Toronto and Ottawa. This is an important recognition of the role that municipal governments play in the economic well-being of our cities. The Brampton Board of Trade calls on the province to include the Region of Peel in any package of municipal reforms it brings forward in the near future. This is consistent with the Brampton Board of Trade’s recommendation earlier this month for the Premier to re-open the municipal reform file in Peel. The Brampton Board of Trade also wrote a letter to Minister Steve Clark, outlining our priorities for Brampton.
It has become apparent that Brampton residents and businesses are not well-served by our existing governance structure. Many businesses believe that there is an anti-Brampton bias, a systemic bias against Brampton, with its confusing two-tier system. Only 51% of businesses responding to the Brampton Board of Trade’s Business Confidence Survey feel well informed about which level of government is responsible for decisions that affect their business. Only 1 in 3 feel Brampton is well-served by its two-tiered regional government structure.
Decisions are made at both the regional and city levels that do not serve businesses priorities or advance economic development in a consistent way.
Recent examples include:
– Regional Council’s opposition to the 413 without any economic development context
– The Main St LRT Extension, a critical piece of regional infrastructure, languishing at City Hall while construction begins in Mississauga
– A supervised consumption site (SCS) is planned for downtown Brampton, moving ahead by regional decree, without adequate input from city businesses.
– Brampton City Council’s inability to meet quorum, leaving city business at a standstill
Our current system assumes Brampton has adequate representation at both the city and regional level. The above examples serve to illustrate the current shortcomings and urgent need for municipal and regional reform. Brampton can do better. Brampton deserves better. The Board of Trade will soon be launching its #DoBetter campaign, identifying areas in which the next term of city council can advance important business community priorities.