City of Duncan Mayor Phil Kent. (Citizen file)

City of Duncan mayor against amalgamation

I have grave concerns that this current proposal’s promise of “better” is vague at best

As communities, we have grown and thrived by being welcoming to new and diverse residents and businesses. We have been able to do so despite our defined political boundaries established over a century ago. Community is not defined by our political boundaries, but by the values, vision and places we identify with.

I applaud the work of the Citizens Assembly, a model that I firmly support. I have always believed that a community should be developed and driven by its stakeholders. What has been missed in this process, unfortunately, is the ability of the Citizens Assembly to fully explore the opportunities to reflect on the community as it exists today; to consider the realities of an increasingly complex society, and the ability to respond to the needs and services required to become resilient in a fast paced and ever-changing environment. I believe that a much deeper conversation was needed to follow the Assembly’s work to determine what we hope to collectively accomplish and to identify both our goals and aspirations.

The Assembly had been constrained by their terms of reference; no other data was studied or explored as possible alternatives to a simple merger. In 2014, the City had asked its residents two questions regarding governance yet, unfortunately, the Municipality of North Cowichan did not offer that opportunity for its citizens to weigh out alternatives to a simple merger.

Defining a vision regarding issues like transportation, development growth, our regional economy, and the environment are key to the region’s future. These issues are not mutually exclusive to the City of Duncan or to North Cowichan. There will always be another jurisdiction and community of interest that we need to consult and work with collaboratively in order to reach our goals. We already have the tools required to succeed; picking the right ones depends on what we want to build. An amalgamation is unlikely to be successful if there isn’t at least some agreement and goodwill toward where we are going on all of these critical issues. If we continually work toward creating solutions for these challenges, the right structures will become obvious.

We have already had many great successes working together across jurisdictions; Cowichan Place/University Village; new recreation and community facilities, flood protection, sewage treatment, to name a few.

My vote is for a future with a balanced economy, wherein citizens and businesses have the right infrastructures and amenities to take advantage of their opportunities; and to be able to sustain themselves. My vote is for an environment wherein health of citizens can be provided for, and one that connects all its diverse people and generations.

There are many citizens in the greater Duncan area with an interest who have been left on the sideline of this conversation. Without shared goals and vision we will flounder endlessly in political squabble while opportunity passes us by.

“Unity and Progress” is our City’s motto. Collaboratively, and with our neighbours, we have achieved important progress that benefits us all.

I have grave concerns that this current proposal’s promise of “better” is vague at best, and that any transition will be challenging and disruptive were this initiative approved.

I am confident that whatever the outcome of the referendum on June 23, the citizens will be right, and that I will continue to contribute to, and promote our needs. The City has a vibrant and strong pride for its history, and contribution to the entire region.

I have reviewed very thoughtfully the reports of the Citizens Assembly.

Without a deeper more inclusive dialogue on the objectives, I cannot support the amalgamation.

RELATED STORY: DUNCAN MAYOR SAYS NO TO AMALGAMATION

Phil Kent, Mayor

City of Duncan

Just Posted

CVRD adds two referendums to municipal ballot this fall

Coters asked to decide on funding for housing and water initiatives

VIDEO: Shake, shimmy, and shine: bellydancers strut their stuff in Duncan

The sun was hot, but so were the dancers as The 39 Days kicks off final week

Harpists Nova and Lotus Schultz win Duncan Has Talent, sharing $300 prize

Philip Schneider takes second place and Tyla Fraser, third in instrumental category

Duncan man disgruntled over parking permit

City says he must show demonstrable need for one

A look at B.C. wildfire smoke from space

NASA provides a timelapse of smoke covering B.C. from space

Man plows truck into Houses of Parliament in London

UK police treat Parliament crash as terrorism, man arrested

Child dies in boating incident in Okanagan

A North Vancouver family was boating on Kalamalka Lake in Vernon when the incident occured

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Province calls for federal aid

More fires have burned in B.C. already this year than did in all of 2017

Kayak in Indian Arm waters off B.C.’s Deep Cove and feast on famous doughnuts

About a half hour drive from Vancouver, Deep Cove is a great kayaking spot for locals and tourists

Smokey skies across Vancouver Island expected to last until Wednesday

The province of B.C. has issued a special bulletin for all of Vancouver Island

Child, 4, attacked by cougar near Fernie

The BC Conservation Officer Service said it happened while the family was fishing

Trans Mountain pipeline protesters practise resisting police at Camp Cloud

Last week, a Supreme Court judge granted the City of Burnaby an injunction ordering protesters to remove everything from the site

Gun used in Fredericton killings is legal, man had licence

Police Chief Leanne Fitch said the long gun is commonly available for purchase, and is not a prohibited or restricted weapon

Most Read