Minister creates uncertainty in Duncan/N. Cowichan amalgamation referendum

City of Duncan and Municipality of North Cowichan hope to hold vote in spring

The timing of the amalgamation referendum between the City of Duncan and the Municipality of North Cowichan may be in question after a letter was received from B.C.’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson.

Robinson said to both municipalities that there are number steps they must complete before she can approve the referendum.

They include a better sense of costs and resources that would be available during the transition to a single municipality, more information on how Duncan and North Cowichan would operate in the time between the referendum and the actual amalgamation (if approved), and a framework on how the new inaugural single council would be developed during the transition period.

“When both councils have considered and agreed on such matters and shared them with me, I will be in a better position to consider your request for a vote and to follow up on the timing of such a vote,” Robinson said.

The amalgamation of Duncan and North Cowichan was recommended by the 36-member Citizen’s Assembly in May after a lengthy review.

As part of the 2014 municipal elections, both Duncan and North Cowichan councils agreed to include on the ballot a non-binding opinion question in regards to exploring the costs and benefits of amalgamating the two municipalities.

In North Cowichan, 68 per cent of those casting ballots voted in favour of conducting an amalgamation study, and in Duncan, 52 per cent of voters were also in favour.

After the study concluded that amalgamation was feasible, both councils decided earlier this year to hold a referendum, pending permission from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and had indicated that holding the vote in the spring of 2018 was preferable.

FOR RELATED STORY, CLICK HERE

North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure said hopes were high that the referendum would be held sometime around the beginning of April, but the letter from Robinson may change that.

“Staff had hoped that we had already answered all those questions for the ministry,” he said.

“We thought we would hear back from the province in terms of what funding the government would provide us to assist with the referendum and the amalgamation process, if amalgamation is approved.”

Lefebure said he thinks the best response to the letter is to send a more formal letter to the ministry with the information that is being requested included.

He said that letter will likely be sent early in the new year.

“We are now in a position of uncertainty in regards to the referendum and its timing,” Lefebure said.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Robert scores two as Caps double up Nanaimo

Cowichan knocks off Island rivals 4-2 on Friday night

International Guitar Night back in Duncan for incredible night of guitar showmanship

Guitarists celebrate 19 years of touring by returning to Cowichan

Former Chargers helping VIU teams to successful seasons

Groenendijk sisters team up with undefeated Mariners

‘Be Our Guest!’ say the Medford Singers, as they present two concerts

It’s Disney time in Duncan and Lake Cowichan as this enthusiastic choir sings songs from the movies

Bulldogs a big part of football bowl games

Five Cowichan Bulldogs midget football players helped Team BC to a come-from-behind win in ABC Bowl

VIDEO: U.S. Congress to probe whether Trump told lawyer Cohen to lie

At issue is a BuzzFeed News report that about negotiations over a Moscow real estate project

Coming up in Cowichan: Anti-pipeline meeting; women’s shelter open house

Public meeting in Duncan to support pipeline protests A public meeting has… Continue reading

Rookie Demko backstops Canucks to 4-3 win over Sabres

Young Vancouver goalie makes 36 saves to turn away Buffalo

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

UPDATE: Injured firefighter in stable condition

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

B.C. dangerous offender in court for violating no-contact order, sends letter to victim

Wayne Belleville was shocked to see a letter addressed to him from his shooter, Ronald Teneycke

Man blames his loud car radio, sirens for crash with B.C. ambulance

Tribunal rejects bid to recoup ICBC costs after crash deemed 100-per-cent his fault

Most Read