A newspaper article from a paper published on 31 January, 1958.
The text reads:
Two Votes Unnecessary In Amalgamation Issue
Mayor Hubert Badanai of Fort William is putting the cart before the horse when he suggests a vote be taken on amalgamation before any specific merger plans are made.
His Worship, in a review of his inaugural address in which he mentioned amalgamation, said the suggestion had met with a great deal of enthusiasm. Encouraged by that enthusiasm he has gone further into the question.
Mayor Badanai suggests that an amalgamated Lakehead City should also annex parts of McIntyre, Shuniah and Neebing Townships. “Urban development in Eastern Ontario and in Northern Ontario, principally in the Sudbury district, should be sufficient warning to our planning boards that we cannot continue to expand if the two cities are confined to a narrow strip adjoining Lake Superior and the Kaministiquia River,” he said. “In numbers there is strength. We must have strength if we are to develop the harbor, attract industry, provide the educational and cultural background that is needed in a large city.”
Among advantages of amalgamation listed by the Fort William chief magistrate are economies in administration, larger government grants, better-controlled civic services and elimination of inter-city bickering.
Disadvantages – he calls them “practical barriers” that will have to be given a great deal of study – include transit service, water supply, hydro power, telephone service and combining fire and police departments. "With diligence and good planning”, he assures, “these problems can all be overcome.”
His Worship believes the time is opportune for a plebiscite at the next municipal elections, in December, because “the mayor of Port Arthur, and presumably the council, are in favour of such an amalgamation.” He suggests, therefore, that a plebiscite be held in the two cities to determine the feeling of the people.
“Then the next step would be the approach to the Ontario Municipal Board for its approval and advice on the method to be followed, and then it may again be necessary to have another vote of the people to finalize the amalgamation.”
Mayor Badanai will find some opposition to his proposal for two plebiscites. It is wholly unfair to ask the citizens to vote on the principle of amalgamation, which the first vote would amount to, without knowing what may be involved. If amalgamation was approved in principle in the first plebiscite, how many other plebiscites would have to be put forward before one was accepted?
No one has ever suggested, for example, that a vote be taken on the principle of borrowing of money through debenture issue before a vote is taken on a specific money by-law.
It is obvious Mayor Badanai is giving serious study to the amalgamation question, and his public pronouncements have been welcomed in both cities. But we respectfully suggest that the citizens would be more interested in voting on a specific proposal in which the details are spelled out in terms they can all understand, than in voting on a broad principle which, if approved, only indicates there is interest in a merger. That interest has already been expressed without the expense of a plebiscite.