Transit decision illustrates need for amalgamation

Allowing Victoria to determine best transit corridor shows lack of cohesion in planning

Re: Transit corridors on tap for Douglas (News Gazette, July 12)

The Greater Victoria Regional Transit Committee wants to improve transit services in the region. It proposes two options for traffic alterations on Douglas Street to improve bus times.

The effects of the changes will be felt all over the region. Why, then, is the final say about which option to adopt left to the City of Victoria itself? Regional decisions should be made by regional bodies with the required expertise and broad overview. This isn’t happening in this case.

This is another example of what happens when there is no metropolitan government in a far-reaching region such as this. A metropolitan city government is needed with powers to make decisions which affect the greater city, while perhaps six boroughs resulting from amalgamation would deal with local decisions.

This is the system the City of Toronto had until the Harris government forced complete amalgamation. Metro Toronto before Harris worked well.

So bravo to Colwood and Metchosin for starting the process of deciding how to improve city government. These municipalities and others might also consider a unified effort to lobby the province to take a more active role in advancing the process towards a more rational system of city government, as the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce has suggested.

As the Chamber points out, without provincial leadership the process may well falter.

John Olson



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