Unconvinced a merger of Duncan/North Cowichan beneficial

My family has resided, and paid taxes, in Duncan for some 50 years.

Unconvinced a merger of Duncan/North Cowichan beneficial

Unconvinced a merger of Duncan/North Cowichan beneficial

I have friends on both sides of the amalgamation debate.

Nevertheless, I am compelled to voice some comments on amalgamation.

After all, former North Cowichan Mayor Anne Murray did so — and I agree with her remark that “temperate, civilized, adult discussion…is essential.”

My family has resided, and paid taxes, in Duncan for some 50 years. (Strangely, I don’t recall Anne’s apparent memory of being “often surprised that the provincial government had to appoint citizens to serve as councillors on Duncan council” during our years here.)

By instinct, inclination, and training, I prefer to base decisions on evidence. And so I have read the report of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee. It is quite thorough and thoughtful and I commend them for their work on the concept. As always, however, the devil is in the details.

What would be the advantage to Duncan of a merger? “Negligible” economic differences. Is it instructive to look to the reasons for separation over a century ago? It seems the progressive merchants wanted such newfangled things as sidewalks and streetlights. Imagine! That dichotomy in corporate culture has, in many ways, characterized the differences ever since.

Now if I resided and paid taxes in Chemainus, I would be adamantly opposed, for Chemainus has a disproportionate influence on North Cowichan matters and that would clearly be diminished in such a merger.

I will close by stating that during the 28 years I served as an elected member on Duncan city council, I personally saw the two bodies work closely, generally harmoniously, and effectively to provide municipal services in our area. And whatever the outcome of the vote on June 23, I trust our community will continue to be well served by those elected to carry out such services.

But without more persuasive evidence than I’ve seen to date, I am unconvinced that merger is a good thing for Duncan residents and taxpayers like me.

Mike Coleman

Duncan