Adjusting boundaries is not amalgamation

As a past school district trustee and former CVRD board chair, I would like to compliment candidate Rob Hutchins for advancing the notion of bringing Ladysmith and adjacent areas into School District 79.

Cowichan is a community of communities. Having Ladysmith and area belong to the Nanaimo School District alienates them from their regional government neighbours. This is about having a community discussion to determine if aligning school district and CVRD boundaries makes sense. This is not, as some have suggested, about joining two entire school districts into one omnipotent entity.

I agree with Rob Hutchins that it is worthy of a conversation. Put simply, if the idea has value, Ladysmith would become part of the Cowichan School District and no longer be part of the Nanaimo School District. This could enable us to make greater use of our public facilities, plan for our entire area, save money and tax dollars and ultimately benefit all children in Cowichan.

I am concerned something that was suggested as a possible way of improving the education system in our Valley is being made into a political issue. Comments from some others running as trustees for the school district are wrongly accusing Rob Hutchins of being in favour of amalgamation. His stance on that topic has always been an emphatic “no”. This attempt to discredit Rob or anyone bringing forward new ideas that might improve the lives of students in Cowichan is disappointing.

We need a fresh new approach that looks at putting students first. We must look at all opportunities that improve the lives of all children in the Cowichan Valley.

Gerry Giles

Cobble Hill regional director

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