EDITORIAL: Support spotty for amalgamation

View Royal latest municipality to reject putting test question on election ballot

While the topic of amalgamation is a dead issue for many Greater Victorians, folks in View Royal still want to find out how residents of the town feel about the possibility of pursuing some form of combined services or jurisdictions in the region.

With no backing from town council, the View Royal Community Association is hosting a public meeting next week in an attempt to further inform its residents what putting a non-binding question on its ballots for the fall civic election would actually mean.

Most of the Capital Region’s 13 municipal councils have already chosen to reject holding a referendum on pursuing amalgamation further. View Royal made that choice on Tuesday night.

Some municipalities, helped by the folks from Amalgamation Yes, have hosted public meetings to take residents’ temperature on the issue, as a way to determine whether to spend more public money on a referendum.

In a number of cases, no council vote has actually been taken on the idea. To us that says no one around the table feels strongly enough about it to make a motion calling for a vote and have it seconded by a supporter on council.

If most jurisdictions aren’t willing to hear their community’s answer to the question, or feel most residents prefer the status quo, how can there be any hope of convincing the province to actually look into the matter further? For that matter, why would we want the province to spend our hard-earned tax dollars on such a study if it seemed there were no appetite to even look at amalgamation in the first place?

Some may feel this is an issue of democracy, allowing the public to voice their opinion and have their vote counted. In View Royal, the fire hall referendum attracted a huge turnout because it was something residents felt strongly about.

While some people may feel strongly about looking into the regional benefits of some form of amalgamation, we don’t currently see enough of them to warrant asking our local politicians or the province to spend valuable time or money on it.

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