Bickering shows why merger idea will fail

It’s easy to see why we remain skeptical about the potential amalgamation of the City of Duncan and the Municipality of North Cowichan.

The two bodies can’t even agree on a question to take out to referendum in their jurisdictions. The city wants to include the topic of boundary realignment (the City of Duncan adding more land base to their one square mile) while the Municipality of North Cowichan is staunchly against including that in the public poll.

If they can’t even agree on a question to ask the public, what hope is there that any agreement can be reached on any of the nitty-gritty of putting two municipal units together?

That’s if it’s decided the whole thing is worth pursuing.

Note that the proposed referendum questions merely talk about studying the idea.

There’s a long, long way from gaging public opinion on a study and actually merging Duncan with North Cowichan.

We doubt that’s a road that’s going to be taken any time in the near future.

Not only is there a lot of history and water under that bridge

that has entrenched separate government institutions in these two communities, amalgamation costs.

It costs huge bucks. People argue that the shortterm financial pain leads to longterm financial gain, but that’s not necessarily the case.

It would not simply be a matter of eliminating one whole government.

Anyone who argues this has not thought it through.

You cannot just add a whole bunch more people and land to a municipality without providing services to those people, and services mean employees, right from managers and planners to garbage collection crews and somebody to water the flower baskets.

That’s not to even mention such things as the giant task of converting every single bylaw and regulation on the books, and paying for the inevitable consultants to shepherd you through the process.

Successful amalgamation would require two enthusiastic participants.

Our municipalities are not on the same page, not even a little bit.