The entire Holland Marsh should fall under only one municipality, and the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury should request the province make that change, local resident Art Janse told BWG council Monday night.
But King Township would not support a boundary change, its mayor Steve Pellegrini told BradfordToday.
During a public meeting Monday about the town potentially separating from the County of Simcoe, Janse, who is the former drainage superintendent of the marsh, said council should also talk to the province about realigning the marsh boundaries, which fall under BWG and the Township of King.
“It always has been an aggravation. It always has been a problem, and at the time we relocated the canal, King Township fought it tooth and nail,” Janse said, noting the entire marsh was within Simcoe County at one time. “I think it would be in the best interests, if we’re looking at ratepayers, to include that in submissions.”
BWG council is expected to vote at a meeting Tuesday night on whether to ask the province to consider the feasibility of making the town a separated city as part of a regional governance review currently underway.
Janse suggested council include re-examining marsh boundaries in that request.
“I absolutely support that 100 per cent,” said Deputy Mayor James Leduc.
“Economically, it makes sense. It is the marsh. It is the vegetable capital of Ontario. It generates a lot of economic strength in Bradford, and to have it in between King and Bradford doesn’t make sense.”
Leduc said the governance review can allow the town to take advantage of some “great opportunities,” and “the marsh, in our mind, is a no-brainer.”
“Can we bring that to the table? Certainly. We’d love to have the province look at that,” he said.
Pellegrini, however, said King Township would not support a boundary change of the Holland Marsh.
"There's a clear delineation, the Holland River. We value our farmers, in particular our Holland Marsh farmers," he said. "We have no desire, whether it's a street or canal, (to change boundaries). King would not support that."
Pellegrini said he would not comment on BWG's position in the governance review and the potential of the town becoming a separated city.
"We're in a different position. York Region functions well, and our services are intertwined," he said.
Jody Mott, executive director of the Holland Marsh Growers’ Association, said realignment of marsh boundaries will be discussed with local farmers soon.
The association represents growers in BWG, King, Cookstown, Georgina, and East Gwillimbury, but most of “marsh proper” is technically in King, she said.
“We are looking at doing a consultation meeting with the growers to have that conversation … to see the growers’ wishes in the area of what they’d like to do,” she said.