Congratulations to Black Press for taking a comprehensive look at amalgamation. It’s long overdue.
What’s interesting is that amalgamation has to be studied and justified. There appears to be no requirement on those opposed to amalgamation to justify the current system. It’s analogues to being innocent until proven guilty.
The responses by the regions mayors to the question: “Do you support some form of municipal amalgamation” were interesting. Most of the mayors had a no or yes response, only the mayors of Central Saanich and Sidney felt they needed more information and analysis before they could respond. What exactly that means is not clear.
The mayor of Langford supports three municipalities: the downtown core , the West Shore and the Peninsula.
With one municipality for the Peninsula there would be one mayor, not three, one CEO, one chief engineer, one planning director, one municipal clerk, etc. Would that benefit the taxpayers?
With a bigger planning area, would it be possible to achieve better land use planning – concentrating industrial and commercial developments in the appropriate areas and saving valuable farm lands? Would the amalgamation of Sidney, North and Central Saanich prevent unnecessary competition for industrial and commercial developments in an effort to maintain a viable tax base?
Would a single municipality on the Peninsula be better able to plan for affordable housing without impacting negatively on current property owners?
Let’s hope the question of amalgamation is not left primarily to those who fear change or to those who have a vested interest in the status quo.