The City of Duncan would not gain from amalgamation, one assembly member felt. (Citizen file)

The City of Duncan would not gain from amalgamation, one assembly member felt. (Citizen file)

Minority report: the case against

“I believe that their inclination to support the recommendation was born of high hopes”

Although many of the Citizens Assembly spoke in favour of amalgamation, there were still some comments opposing all or parts of the idea from committee members.

These were printed in a Minority Report at the end of the report of the Assembly’s work.

Tanya Ablonczy said, “While I am not violently opposed to amalgamation, I am decidedly against it. I deeply respect the consensus of my colleagues in this matter, but must agree to entirely disagree. I believe that their inclination to support the recommendation was born of high hopes and a positive attitude rather than likely and quantifiable benefit to the City of Duncan, of which I am a resident.”

She said that “vastly different land use and development challenges, and political interests” between the two entities makes the idea difficult to comprehend.

“I believe that there were some legitimate incongruities addressed throughout this process, and I believe that they could all be rectified without the cost, commitment, and upheaval of amalgamation,” she said.

She had several recommendations, including: achieving the greatest possible degree of service integration between the two groups (except fire halls), and increasing service integration where possible with Cowichan Tribes.

Ablonczy also wanted to see a joint official community plan, and “a binding commitment from each group” to require consensus when dealing with borderline areas. The spirit of this would also affect such issues as signage requirements, she suggested.

The ever-arising issue of inadequate police funding needs to be addressed in “the most aggressive and immediate ways possible”, as a joint effort between the Municipality of North Cowichan and the City of Duncan, she said.

She also suggested that both the city and the municipality explore ways by which to lessen tax burdens on local businesses and provide incentives for property upgrades and maintenance.

“I believe that the city should also consider increasing services to businesses, particularly in the areas of waste disposal and sidewalk snow removal in the downtown core,” Ablonczy said.