Residents of Victoria and Saanich gave their municipalities strong mandates to pursue studies around amalgamation in a 2014 referendum ballot, reminds Shellie Gudgeon, Amalgamation Yes chair. Don Denton/News staff

Residents of Victoria and Saanich gave their municipalities strong mandates to pursue studies around amalgamation in a 2014 referendum ballot, reminds Shellie Gudgeon, Amalgamation Yes chair. Don Denton/News staff

The facts are clear to why amalgamation is needed in Greater Victoria

Shellie Gudgeon, chair of Amalgamation Yes, responds to News editorial

Re: Amalgamation is no silver bullet (Our View, April 20)

Your editorial poses questions that many residents of Greater Victoria could easily answer. There are many avoidable problems in the region that are/have been a direct result of the fragmented municipal structure.

To name just a few:

– $75 million wasted on sewage file at the Capital Regional District board caused by turf-protecting mayors;

– traffic gridlock and a lack of transportation authority due to a failure to work together and advocate in a holistic manner with other levels of government. The economic cost of this alone is staggering, not to mention the cost to the environment;

– multiple and often unco-ordinated public safety issues, leading to the inability to agree on matters as simple as fire dispatch;

– exclusion from the Big City Mayors’ Caucus of the Canadian Federation of Municipalities, a body that advocates for the needs of Canada’s biggest cities.

And yet you ask, “does having more municipalities stand in the way of getting things done?” We wonder, too, how the estimated cost of “millions of dollars” and putting “hundreds out of work” was derived? Even the province says that information and data has yet to be collected and analyzed before the costs and benefits are known.

Duncan and North Cowichan have engaged in an exploration process to determine if amalgamation is right for them. That included a citizens’ assembly that made recommendations on amalgamation to each council. It will be up to people in those communities to vote Yes or No in a June 23 referendum. This is the way democracy is supposed to work. A mandate from the voters is absolutely essential for any change to municipal structure.

It is not for Amalgamation Yes to decide any future changes to our local government structure. It is for the citizens who live here to decide. We are consistent and persistent in that regard.

As it currently stands, residents in our region have been denied the ability to bring about local government changes when councils fail to provide, or ignore, a means for legitimate reform. Using a citizens’ assembly model allows participation from a randomly selected sample of interested residents.

Victoria and Saanich received strong mandates in their 2014 municipal election questions on amalgamation. Saanich followed up with a governance review group that recommended a citizens’ assembly, which was unanimously approved by council. It follows, then, that these two municipalities would seek to determine if amalgamation will be a good fit for them.

We should never fear information and always strive for improvements in local government. We believe that better is possible, as do thousands of others in the Capital Region. Victoria and Saanich are making a good start on this exploratory journey.

Shellie Gudgeon, Chair,

Amalgamation Yes

amalgamation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Keygan Power with brother Quintin and mom Allison while camping the weekend before Keygan’s brain hemorrhage on Aug. 2, 2020. (Photo Allison Power)
Saanich teen ‘locked inside,’ regaining speech after severe brain hemorrhage

16-year-old suffers traumatic loss of function, still plays a mean game of chess

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

North Saanich is giving local businesses a break by waving renewal fees for 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)
North Saanich waives business renewal fees for 2021

The municipality raised $48,000 from businesses licences in 2020

The Sooke school district has filled all spots for their French immersion and nature kinderagarten programs in 2021-2022 school year. Regular kindergarten registration is still open and available. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke school district gets surplus of nature, French immersion kindergarten applications

Not enough room for almost half of nature kindergarten applicants

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have arrested a prolific offender who is now facing more than 40 charges. (Black Press file photo)
‘Priority offender’ arrested in Cowichan Valley faces more than 40 charges

Tyler Elrix, 37, had a history of evading police; was ordered not to be in Vancouver Island

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Canadians divided over Keystone pipeline, despite U.S. president’s permit pullback

Two-thirds of Canadians think Biden’s decision was a “bad thing” for Alberta

Most Read