City of Thunder Bay Logo

Headline: Would Meet F.W. On Merger Plan 

Newspaper article on amalgamation plan

A front page newspaper article from the Port Arthur News-Chronicle published on Wednesday, September 3rd, 1958. The article is in regard to the proposed amalgamation of the two cities.

 

The text reads;

Would Meet F.W. On Merger Plan
Ask Through Investigation

Port Arthur city council will seek a joint meeting with Fort William to discuss the proposed amalgamation of the two cities.

Ald. A. Mauro suggested the joint meeting at a regular meeting of finance committee of council Tuesday. He told the committee members he would hate to see the question die. The two cities could hold talks on the thorny issue of investigating the good and bad points of amalgamation before putting the question to the voters.

Ald. J. Stitt said Fort William was adopting the “back door” method by suggesting the question of amalgamation be put to the voters without an investigation first. He said Fort William council wanted Port Arthur to place before the people a question on which each council knew very little and the people knew even less.

NEED FACTS

According to Ald. Stitt, the only reasonable thing to do was to find out the good and bad points about amalgamation before asking the voters to decide.

Ald. A. Mauro suggested the people might say yes to the question of amalgamation simply because they did not know enough about it. Ald. S. Ashton said it was like putting the cart before the horse to ask the people to vote on the matter without telling what they would be getting.

Fort William council had sent a copy of the resolution they passed asking if Port Arthur would be putting the question to the people at the coming civic election this year. According to the Fort William resolution that city thought the best way to settle the issue was to ask the people, without going to the cost of an investigation beforehand.

Ald. E. Anten said the question was too big to put before the voters with no discussion. He said the Fort William resolution came as a “sudden” suggestion just to put Port Arthur council on the spot. He said Fort William started the amalgamation drive in January and then shelved the matter until late August before acting on it. He suggested Fort William council could have answered the Port Arthur letter on April 29 asking them to co-operate in the cost of an investigation of the question of amalgamation.

COSTS HIGHER

According to Ald. Anten some people downtown had the “ridiculous” notion that amalgamation would reduce costs of administration. He said no city clerk of a city of 80,000 would work for the same salary he got for a city of 40,000 population. He said the same held true for all other offices.

Ald. D. Coghlan suggested that if the council was sincere in its desire to do something perhaps it could combine the two ideas and ask the voters if they were prepared to pay the costs of having a study of the two cities made by a consulting firm in an effort to get the answers as to what was good and bad about amalgamation.

Ald. A. Hinton suggested council did not need the authority of the people to hold such an investigation. He said he couldn’t see the necessity of cluttering up an election campaign with a plebiscite asking authority to investigate the matter.

Ald. M. Zale said he favoured such an investigation because he would like to know what the people want. He suggested that if the people wanted to amalgamate then council could work in that direction.

ASK PEOPLE FIRST

Ald. Hinton asked if he didn’t think the council should have some facts before they asked the people. Ald. Stitt opposed Ald. Zale’s suggestion and said he was asking the people to vote on a vague quantity. He said council should properly give the people something to work on first. He was surprised Ald. Zale would even come up with such an idea.

Ald. S. Ashton said he thought they had some responsibility as aldermen. He urged they get the facts in the matter and then express themselves on those facts. Ald. J. Robinson said Fort William would simply be signing up with a rich cousin and would undoubtedly get the better of the deal.

TBA 2401