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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — The time could also be coming for P.E.I. to restructure its municipal boundaries.
P.E.I.’s housing minister says many years of research again up the thought of including extra Islanders to municipal jurisdictions, however that opinion is just not but authorities coverage.
Rob Lantz, minister of housing, land and communities, spoke about municipal restructuring on the Federation of P.E.I. Municipalities (FPEIM) semi-annual assembly final month.
Lantz has lengthy supported the thought of widening municipal boundaries, together with throughout his time as a metropolis councillor and because the Progressive Conservative chief, he mentioned in an Oct. 24 interview.
The province has roughly 60 municipalities, a lot of which can not have the inhabitants to remain viable. However to make restructuring work, municipal governments and other people residing in unincorporated land must work collectively and with the provincial authorities, mentioned Lantz.
“What we actually want is for our municipalities to interact in a extra public dialogue and specific their views round this challenge,” he mentioned. “I’m not going to impose that on anyone, however that’s my opinion and perception.” – Housing Minister Rob Lantz
“What we actually want is for our municipalities to interact in a extra public dialogue and specific their views round this challenge,” he mentioned. “I’m not going to impose that on anyone, however that’s my opinion and perception.”
Such engagement would additionally require a provincial land use plan as a result of individuals in integrated territories wouldn’t have political illustration on native points.
Lantz says the division is engaged on the land plan, and step one, the “state of the Island report,” is coming quickly.
“Little question the problem of municipal restructuring will come up as a part of that dialogue. They’re very a lot intertwined points, and I feel we have to be ready to have the talk. I’m completely ready to make my place recognized once more, and if it’s doable to maneuver in that place, I’ll be there to assist it.”
Requested about potential pushback from Islanders who don’t need to stay in a municipality or pay larger taxes, Lantz mentioned land is a delicate challenge in P.E.I., however the province wants extra density to maintain up with its rising inhabitants and housing scarcity.
Federation of P.E.I. Municipalities
Whereas Lantz centered on collaboration between the bottom ranges of presidency, Satyajit Sen, coverage and particular initiatives advisor with the FPEIM, says it’s doable for the province to do its personal municipal restructuring.
This might be a extra top-down strategy, nonetheless, and the province would want to handle the real grievances of some Islanders who don’t need to be a part of a municipality, mentioned Sen.
No matter course of occurs, the necessity for restructuring and a land use plan is obvious, he mentioned in an Oct. 31 interview.
Solely 35 per cent of P.E.I. land falls beneath municipal boundaries and solely 20 per cent is topic to a land use plan. This implies hundreds of individuals are residing on the sting of municipalities, utilizing their providers, however not paying native taxes, he mentioned.
As well as, implementing the land use plan will want native governments to be efficient, he mentioned.
“The province is just not going to get into zoning, since you don’t need the cupboard to make selections on variances.… You want a extra clear construction the place land selections are taken with utmost transparency, and that may be achieved by way of native governments.”
Requested concerning the issue of partaking Islanders who’re paying decrease taxes by residing on the outskirts of municipalities, Sen mentioned it’s a exhausting promote, however land is P.E.I.’s most essential useful resource and must be revered and guarded by way of planning.
In any other case, farmland, forests and coastlines will proceed to degrade and disappear whereas municipalities battle to pay their workers.
“It’s a must to see whether or not that is within the curiosity of the province and curiosity of P.E.I. or not,” mentioned Sen. “And whether it is within the curiosity of P.E.I., it is best to do it.”
Logan MacLean is a municipal reporter with SaltWire in Prince Edward Island. He may be reached by e-mail at [email protected] and adopted on X @loganmaclean94.