EDITORIAL: THE Question of amalgamation

A binding referendum would force a lot of hands. A mutually agreed upon plan would serve the interests of the area much better.

The problem with democracy for politicians is that every now and then the electorate actually gets off the couch, heads to the nearest polling station, and sends them a stern message.

Greater Victoria voters, in the largest numbers we’ve seen in a long time, have spoken – and not just for who they wanted to see sitting in their city councillor and mayoral seats.

A resounding yes on the amalgamation questions means politicians can no longer sit back and ignore the issue.

Victoria and Esquimalt have experimented with amalgamation, and both communities appear happy with their joint police department

Experimentation on a small scale is no longer enough; neither is conversation without results.

Politicians from Victoria, Esquimalt and surrounding areas must now begin substantive dialogue about moving down the road to amalgamation, in whatever form that will take.

The province, seeing which way the political winds are blowing, have already signaled their interest in seeing amalgamation move forward. This will put additional pressure on our local political servants to do the same.

It is extremely important that Greater Victoria creates its own plans for amalgamation: a made in Victoria solution, not a provincially mandated solution that may serve the B.C. legislature rather than local residents.

To do that, mayors and councillors, new and old, will have to start by sitting down and seeing what first steps can be taken in terms of informal cooperation and sharing.

Mayors and councillors must also not forget who has put their feet to the fire on this issue and keep voters informed of ongoing talks and any agreements that come from those discussions.

They must also look ahead and decide if a binding referendum should be added to the ballot in four years time.

A binding referendum would force a lot of hands and it seems that cooperation and a mutually agreed upon plan would serve the interests of the area much better.

So, our local politicos should be reminded of the old equation Talk – Action = 0, and know they will be judged on that.

 

They have four short years to show they are taking action on the amalgamation question.