Municipal Service Delivery in an Amalgamated Setting: Evaluating the Applicability of a Spatial Model using the Region of Waterloo, Ontario
Figure 1: Aerial view of the Region of Waterloo
In a local government context, amalgamation is the process of consolidating individual municipalities and their related services (ex. fire services, community centres, libraries) in a common geographic region into a single government. The main purpose of such a process is to reduce the size of government and therefore taxes for citizens (Bird & Slack 2013). A key criticism of municipal amalgamation pertains to service delivery change, a concept that can be modelled for many factors (Bish, 1996). Historical discourse concerning amalgamation has not addressed the spatial component of these factors, something that can be evaluated using a GIS-based spatial model.
This project studies the theoretical amalgamation of the Tri-City area within the Region of Waterloo, Ontario, and the degree to which GIS can be used to assess service delivery implications in an amalgamated setting. This process requires a network analysis to understand exisiting service areas and identify redundancies in service delivery through examining overlapping areas. Further network analyses are conducted with the redundant services removed or replaced through location allocation modelling towards location optimization of services without an impact on service standards. For the Tri-Cities, the model identifies overlapping areas of service delivery of fire stations in an amalgamated setting and that the use of a location allocation model can optimally site one location to maintain a service area previously served by two stations. Additionally, the analysis of population bases shows that redundant community centres exist, and removing two of them would still maintain population targets in service areas. Furthermore, the results indicate that this high level conceptual GIS-based spatial model is adept in assessing the spatial implications of amalgamation.