Amalgamation outreach must come from Duncan

North Cowichan – I am responding to Councillor Barker’s guest column published earlier this month.

If it was amalgamation Councillor Martin Barker was talking about then he has my attention. I’m not sure North Cowichan politicians need much by way of convincing to discuss it either. It’s a good discussion, and he should have it often with his council and with the citizens of Duncan.

I’m certain it would be a nonstarter for North Cowichan, with the largest municipal land base on the Island, incorporated among the oldest in Western Canada, with six times the population of Duncan, to foist the amalgamation question onto Duncan’s agenda.

North Cowichan must see positive signals from Duncan to begin these long discussions.

Talk of reforming CVRD governance structures, (not certain this was Councillor Barker’s intention), is great coffee talk but would be a waste of valuable, local public resources. The CVRD may evolve in time on its own with population growth and political will but the province will not do away with regional districts.

I support Councillor Barker on amalgamation. North Cowichan can wait for the signal but it cannot remain idle. North Cowichan continues its work on local area planning flowing from the new Official Community Plan. The purpose is to create a climate for managed growth and gold standard service delivery. We strive to achieve our goals from foundations built in the Five-Year Financial Plan, capital investment plan, the economic development plan, the agricultural plan, and the environment plan, which all benchmark back to the OCP. This painstaking (and people wonder why our council meetings are so long) work is far from “fragmented”.

Councillor Barker complains of North Cowichan’s Tax Revitalization Bylaw (a form of tax-free zone).

I told council “I don’t like” the revitalization bylaw but I support it. I don’t like revitalization. I want to move our communities away from the need to be revitalized to what the academics now call “resilient”. I call it a nice place to call home.

Revitalization bylaws are in place to attract short-term, (not short-sighted) investment in areas that we want certain development and economic activity to take place in. Developers ought to take advantage of the incentive program before it’s gone.

Duncan council ought to consider directing its staff to chart a similar course and work with North Cowichan staff to learn the steps we took to get into a position where we could offer these incentives.

Duncan will learn through the process if it can sustain a short-term loss of fees to generate immediate investment in its core. Even if Duncan doesn’t venture down this road, all North Cowichan can do is stimulate a momentum of investment, hope it sticks, to produce the intended consequences of creating jobs, affordable housing, shopping, eating, and comfortable living in the core.

John Koury

North Cowichan

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

Just Posted

Cowichan schools being stymied by outdated student contact info

If you haven’t heard from the school by week’s end, get in touch

Sweet treat helps make Chemainus Health Care Centre workers feel complete

Girl Guide cookies always in good taste when showing appreciation

Cowichan Valley food banks reopen on a limited basis

CMS handing out hampers, Basket Society doing hampers and sandwiches

‘The Office’ star John Krasinski offers Some Good News in trying times

‘The human spirit still found a way to break through and blow us all away’

List of cancelled Cowichan Valley community events

An ongoing list of events that have been cancelled in the Cowichan Valley due to COVID-19

Two arrested after man lies about COVID-19 illness to stay in Victoria Airbnb for free

Victoria Police found stolen goods inside the occupied unit

Liberals delay release of 75% wage subsidy details, costs: Morneau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Nanaimo dentists donate 4,000 masks, 25,000 gloves to health-care peers

Nanaimo District Dental Society collects items for front-line workers during COVID-19 pandemic

No laws in B.C. to force businesses to offer refunds, even during a pandemic

Black Press Media talks to Consumer Protection BC on how to navigate during COVID-19

COVID-19 essential workers can apply for B.C. pre-school child care

Parent referral opens, providers offered emergency funding

Most abiding by COVID-19 rules, back fines, arrests of those who aren’t: poll

But 64 per cent said they’ve personally witnessed people not respecting the measures

Most Read