What’s the point of amalgamating?

Making decisions is often onerous enough for both current councils

What’s the point of amalgamating?

Dear mayors and councillors:

Here we go again with another taxpayer-sanctioned and paid amalgamation vote that rears its head every decade or so.

Trouble is, without many savings on duplicated services and staff, what’s the point of amalgamating?

North Cowichan and Duncan are distinct communities with different histories, with Duncan arguably the Cowichan Valley’s de facto centre.

Voters must carefully examine cost savings in wages, staffing and services before agreeing to blend our two municipalities.

Many questions remain about amalgamating such as what to call a twinned municipality, where city hall would be, and how many councillors would run it — seven? Nine? More?

Making decisions is often onerous enough for both current councils, tasks that won’t necessarily be any easier for a larger, combined council.

Besides, we now have a large council called the Cowichan Valley Regional District sporting 15 directors from across the valley discussing and ruling on our growing, complex web of issues. How would an amalgamated North Cowichan-Duncan be any more effective at the CVRD board table?

The fact is, unless our politicians finally share a common vision of how best to grow Cowichan’s job pool and tax base — without sacrificing our environment, trees, heritage, water, farmland, services and lifestyle — amalgamation is simply akin to a dog chasing its tail.

Peter W. Rusland


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