Talk of municipal amalgamation is inevitable when neighbouring municipalities start bickering about cost-sharing. The Town of Barrhead and the County of Barrhead are at it. Last year the town passed a motion to force the county to come to the table to talk about it, even though the county didn’t want to. The issues are similar to those that recently flared up between the Town of Slave Lake and the M.D. of Lesser Slave River – shared costs for facilities in the town that are used by M.D. residents.
These things can’t always be solved by good-will efforts of the respective councils. Sometimes there just isn’t enough cash to go around and no amount of friendly luncheon meetings can change that. So what happens when disputes go too far is the province can step in and impose a solution, which might be amalgamation. It could happen against the wishes of one of the parties. Or it could happen because both want it, which is apparently how Lac La Biche ended up a mere hamlet in the County of Lac La Biche in 2007.
Look for more on this topic in upcoming issues of The Leader.