Don’t expect amalgamation to get very far

The idea of amalgamation has once again reared its head at North Cowichan council.

The discussion is led this time by Councillor Jen Woike, but it’s hardly a new debate.

We think it will likely lead to the same place it has led every other time the subject has come up to be batted around: nothing much.

The City of Duncan was formed out of the Municipality of North Cowichan because the urban folk of the downtown core wanted streetlights and sidewalks and the like and folks in the rural areas of the municipality didn’t want to pay for such frippery.

At one square mile, the City of Duncan is certainly one of the smallest municipal units we’ve ever heard of.

Does it make sense for such a small population and area to have all of that administration and structure to make it function? It’s not an entirely obvious answer.

Certainly, if the question of forming such a city came forward today the likelihood of it going ahead would be pretty much zero.

Consolidation into bigger units is usually the name of the game today.

This is not to say that the City of Duncan does not do an admirable job of functioning. It does.

It is also, without a doubt, a different animal than North Cowichan – even the more urban bits of North Cowichan such as the town of Chemainus or the village of Crofton.

Would the two entities fit together in character as they stand? There’s also the question of money.

Would it really be financially viable to look at amalgamating these two areas? It’s been looked into before, and the verdict has been that it’s not worth it to the taxpaying pocketbooks.

But perhaps it’s time to have another look at the figures and have the discussion again.

If nothing else, perhaps the municipality and the city could look at consolidating or cooperating on some of the services they provide to their constituents.

We don’t expect wholesale change to come from this.

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