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

Just Posted

Greater Victoria enjoys sunny first day of spring

Summer-like temperatures of 21 degrees hit Wednesday for first day of spring

Esquimalt puts freeze on taxes for local businesses

The tax increase for residents sits at 5.51 per cent, averaging to an additional $46

Bitter Saturna land-use dispute highlights legal grey areas

Unhappy Tsawout accuse leadership of cultural destruction

Development replacing Fairfield United Church gets final approval

The new Unity Commons Development will take over the space at 1303 Fairfield Rd.

Saanich forwards student-targeted development to public hearing

Proposed development advertises itself to individuals who want a car-free lifestyle

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

European, Canadian regulators to do own review of Boeing jet

Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1

Prime minister defends Liberal budget measures as sales effort gets underway

Conservatives under Andrew Scheer say it’s a spree funded by borrowing against the future

Mayor meets with B.C. health minister on homeless taxi transfers

Two homeless people were discharged from Surrey Memorial and sent to a Chilliwack shelter

B.C. lottery winner being sued by co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Teacher reprimanded for conduct towards special needs student

Alan Stephen Berry told vice principal he did not have time to use positive strategies

Volunteer green team joins forces to restore local habitats

Partnerships with schools educate and facilitate remediations

Most Read