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

Countdown is on to the 2018 B.C. Summer Games

Cowichan Valley hosts on July 19-22

Mary Lowther column: Making the best of sandy soil

I’ve also heard that adding silt will help sandy soil, but that’s pretty costly.

Business Notes: Maple Bay’s Urban Valley Tees helps Humboldt with T-shirts

“With requests still coming in daily, we will continue making them into next week.”

Cowichan products lead the way at Hong Kong 7s

A vow made nearly a decade ago came to fruition earlier this month

Province steps up to help Catalyst Paper in war against U.S. duties

Paper company hit with more than 28 per cent in American tariffs

Shania Twain visits Canadian Armed Forces base in B.C.

Canadian country icon thanks members of CFB Esquimalt for their service

Coming up in Cowichan: Earth Day Weekend, plant sale

Every Wednesday morning a group of 18 volunteer gardeners arrives at Cairnsmore Place

Driving Change: A B.C. man’s charitable trip across Canada

A Kelowna man, his bus, and his mission for positive change across our country

Case of teacher secretly filming teens reaches top court

Acquittal of teacher, Ryan Jarvis, who secretly videoed teens ‘dangerous,’ top court told

Why a 14-year-old will lead the charge at annual marijuana protest on the Hill

Marijuana enthusiasts have long been circling April 20 on their calendars as annual day of cannabis

B.C. communities await marine spill compensation years after incidents

The government maintains a Ship Source Oil Pollution Fund to compensate Canadians

RCMP say too early to know what happened in Broncos crash

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said collission very complex

Conservative MP wants feds to close loophole for illegal border crossers

Immigration advocates call on government to suspend Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement

Alberta university criticized for honouring David Suzuki

University of Alberta plans to bestow environmentalist with honourary degree

Most Read