Toronto poor example of amalgamation

Yet another letter writer makes the absurd comparison with Toronto to argue against amalgamation in Greater Victoria.

Yet another letter writer (Toronto shows amalgamation flaws, Dec. 7) makes the absurd comparison with Toronto to argue against amalgamation in Greater Victoria.

Toronto was already a city many times bigger than all of Greater Victoria before it amalgamated with its suburban neighbours. To quote facts and figures from a mega city as though they have any relevance to the pros and cons of retaining the artificial borders in a region of only 350,000 is meaningless.

A more realistic comparison is with Halifax, which in 1996 amalgamated with Dartmouth, Bedford and various communities in Halifax County to form a single municipality of similar size to Greater Victoria.  As a result it is administered by a mayor and just 23 councillors, has a unified police force, and is represented on the Caucus of Canadian Big City Mayors along with other cities even smaller than Greater Victoria. Victoria itself, a provincial capital, has no such voice on this important body as it is regarded as having a population of only 78,000.

Furthermore, the evidence does not support the writer’s claim that communities would lose their identity under amalgamation.

Victoria itself already comprises a number of different neighbourhoods, each with their own character and interests looked after by their neighbourhood associations.  Just as Fernwood, James Bay, Cook Street Village and others do not need separate mayors and councils to preserve their distinctiveness within the City of Victoria, neither would Oak Bay, Esquimalt, Cadboro Bay etc. lose their unique identities in an amalgamated Greater Victoria.

John Weaver

Victoria