Amalgamation answer matters

A non-binding question does not force council to go forward at all, it merely arms them with the voters’ opinion.

Just a few months ago, the push to convince the region’s 13 councils that a non-binding question on amalgamation was a good idea during this fall’s elections seemed all but defeated.

AmalgamationYes, a resident group set up to lead that drive, still appears to have limited reach (its online petition includes less than 1,000 names). But the group’s lobbying efforts are bearing fruit, as Sidney, Esquimalt, Victoria, Central Saanich and Langford have all agreed to put the amalgamation question to voters this fall.

Oak Bay, too, took a step towards that decision last week with Coun. Kevin Murdoch’s notice that he will ask council to make a formal decision on a question before the end of this month.

Allowing the province to both pay for and staff a team that would examine multiple models of amalgamation and integration in the Capital Region is a good deal for voters and for local politicians. They’ll have to get their hands dirty and do heavy lifting when providing data to the province, but the temporary effort is worth the payoff.

If the study provides a better way to share policing, fire and other large pieces of the municipal budgetary pie while retaining autonomous borders, then the temporary effort is worth the payoff.

If the study leads to amalgamation of some natural neighbours in the region and to better cohesion among regional players, the effort is worth the payoff.

Including the amalgamation question on the ballot will not necessarily lead directly to amalgamation. And a non-binding question does not force council to go forward at all, it merely arms them with the voters’ opinion.

Murdoch aims to frame the question so voters know what amalgamation means and why council wants to know. While this will be more tricky than a simple yes or no question, the answer may surprise us all.

 

Just Posted

Oak Bay High junior girls claim city, Island volleyball titles

The team heads for provincials this week in Surrey to take on 32 other junior teams

CF-18 lowered the boom over Saanich Sunday

Plane was arriving in Victoria region from Boise, ID

Two significant thefts, and an accident seeking witnesses.

Oak Bay Police weekly media release for Nov. 13 to Nov. 19

What to expect at tonight’s Committee of the Whole meeting

The Quest development, parking changes, banning plastic bags, and community engagement.

Countrified sound comes Upstairs to Oak Bay

Matt Patershuk and The Craftsmen perform Nov. 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre

Oak Bay light up steeped in tradition

Nov. 26 event kicks off Christmas in Oak Bay

Wet weather expected for much of coastal B.C.

The Weather Network is calling for up to 200mm of rain to fall in some areas of the South Coast and Vancouver Island

B.C. reporter reflects on covering Charles Manson

Charles Manson, leader of a murderous cult, died on Sunday at 83

Running back propels Spectrum Thunder into first Subway Bowl final

Brandon Robbins scores hat trick of touchdowns

ICBC overbilling for crash repairs not the problem, dealers say

Collision repair shops reject union claim of inflated costs

B.C. groups to address child sex abuse in sports

viaSport is organizing a full day of education in association with Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Coaching Association of Canada.

Report sets exercise guidelines for young kids, including ‘tummy time’ for babies

Kids aged one to four should get at least three hours of physical activity throughout the day

Stampeders return to Grey Cup with 32-28 win over Edmonton Eskimos

The Stampeders will face the Toronto Argonauts next Sunday in Ottawa for the title

Nebraska approves TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline

Nebraska’s Public Service Commission approved TransCanada’s Keystone XL route in a close vote