Sunday, 9 November 2014

CRD Amalgamation

I complained earlier that it was difficult to find information about my local municipal election.  There's a good reason for that - I live in a community of about 16,000 and no one outside really cares, and if they did, they'd still have little ability to affect the outcome.  As a result, media is focused on elections that are newsworthy, and not on who gets to be the glorified community association president mayor for Esquimalt.

However, one issue which is common to all the municipalities in the CRD, and which is present in one form or another for many (but not all) of them, is whether the municipalities should consider amalgamating.  With the lack of coordination that I've learnt is par for the course here, no two municipalities are asking their citizens the same question, but the intent, in general, is to initiate a study on amalgamation.  To me, the benefits of amalgamation are clear, and include (but are not limited to) coordinated planning across the amalgamated municipalities for land use, transportation and servicing, combined services for fire & police, a more significant voice to higher levels of government (both provincial and federal) when seeking policies or funding, the efficiencies that come from a single, larger municipal budget versus several smaller, uncoordinated budgets.  The arguments against amalgamation seem weak to me - there will be no 'loss of identity', and since planning and policies will be made by a single council answerable to the whole of the larger community, there will be no 'bullying' of smaller municipalities, since there won't be smaller municipalities.

If you live in the CRD, please vote to get the conversation on amalgamation started.

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