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Amalgamation would cost Duncan residents big

Fact: the City of Duncan will lose its $500,000 annual Small City grant if we amalgamate.

Amalgamation would cost Duncan residents big

There is no looming crisis. The sky is not falling.

There are no impending trade wars or tariffs being imposed on the City of Duncan or North Cowichan.

In fact, it’s just another day of a century’s-plus cooperative relationship between the city and the municipality; our governments have been cooperating for over 106 years since the formation of the City of Duncan.

We work together on many joint projects — here are some of the bigger ones: the Aquatic Centre, the Islands Savings Community Centre, the Vancouver Island Regional Library, the Joint Utilities Sewage treatment, the dike and flood pump station projects, the water system, are interconnected, our fire departments cooperate to provide services along with many day to day infrastructure projects.

So, the “yes” side of amalgamators contention of better cooperation is just not true; the city and municipality are in a cooperative relationship. We do work together. We just don’t have to move in together.

Fact: the City of Duncan will lose its $500,000 annual Small City grant if we amalgamate.

Fact: the citizens of Duncan will be responsible for 90 per cent of policing costs if we amalgamate, that is about another $1,000,000 in taxation to the Citizens of Duncan annually and if we amalgamate Duncan will be responsible for a big portion of the looming starting construction costs of $23,000,000 for a new police station, but if we don’t amalgamate the province pays for Duncan’s portion of the new building.

These are lost revenues and additional annual costs that mean additional $1.5 million a year for the citizens of Duncan.

There will be huge administrative costs, and contrary to common perceptions, there will not be huge saving due to staff reductions. The roads still need repairs, the garbage still needs to be picked up, the water and sewer infrastructure needs to be maintained.

In fact, there will be the daily operations costs and all the bylaws and official community plans will have to be rewritten and passed into law.

Meetings and public consultations cost money and the City of Duncan just completed a major rewrite of bylaws which took over a year and considerable staff time; these newly enacted bylaws would need to be redone again — a huge waste of money we just spent.

Fact: if there was an amalgamation, in my opinion, neither the Duncan city hall nor the North Cowichan municipal hall would have enough room for the combined staff, so there would be a need to build a new city hall at a cost of millions more taxpayer dollars.

Amalgamation might look good to people in North Cowichan, but it is a huge cost to the citizens of Duncan.

Our 100 year plus history and culture of the City of Totems will disappear.

Our autonomy and influence in the direction of one on the best small cities in Canada will be lost in an amalgamation.

Finally, yesterday the City of Duncan released its annual award winning report — our finance department has won many awards for financial management, we know what we’re doing and the citizens of Duncan have a great financial outlook without amalgamation.

Our city is not broken, we don’t need to amalgamate.

On June 23, vote NO to amalgamation.

Tom Duncan

Duncan city councillor