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Voters Want Out of Mega City, Mega Mess

Voters are eager to vote `Yes’ in a historic referendum this fall and reverse a forced merger that created the mega City of Kawartha Lakes, says a new advocacy group in support of de-amalgamation.

Organizers of the Victoria County Yes! Campaign told reporters at a news conference today that they expect a majority of permanent and seasonal residents will vote yes in Ontario’s first ever, provincially sanctioned, de-amalgamation referendum on November 10th.

"After having endured almost three years of this mega mess brought on by forced amalgamation, the message we keep hearing is that an overwhelming majority want out," said Yes Campaign spokesperson Lynne Boldt.

Paul Pagnuelo, a co-spokesperson for the group said people want to restore their local municipalities, financial accountability, tax fairness and local democracy.

"Amalgamation has led to huge urban/rural tax shifts, skyrocketing spending and tax increases, budget deficits, the raiding of reserves, declining services, paying for services even if you don’t get them and a mega city bureaucracy."

Voters, said Boldt, want a return to smaller, more accountable and responsive government.

"One mega city can’t serve the interests of a diverse rural and urban population spread over more than three thousand square kilometers."

She said a `No’ vote is a vote for more of the same.

"It would forever seal the door shut on any further restructuring. It’s a dead end street."

Pagnuelo said a `Yes’ vote not only offers the option of restoring Victoria County and its former municipalities, "it gives voters the opportunity to continue voluntary local restructuring where they feel it makes sense."

The City of Kawartha Lakes with a population of 72,000 lies northeast of Toronto. The City came into existence on January 1, 2001, following the forced dissolution of Victoria County and the amalgamation of its sixteen municipalities by an appointed provincial Restructuring Commissioner.

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