The decades-long conversation surrounding the amalgamation of Greater Victoria is back on the tips of tongues, after Saanich council announced it would host a citizens’ assembly on the issue.
The idea of amalgamation feels more like a lofty concept rather than a practical solution; and, to what problem exactly?
Does having more municipalities stand in the way of each getting things done? One could argue with the rapid development in Victoria and on the West Shore that things are moving along quite nicely.
One has to sit and ponder why separate municipalities were created in the first place.
There may be folly in the belief that a smaller bureaucratic system would be cheaper to run; those answers have yet to be definitively found.
Amalgamation could cost millions of dollars (and potentially put hundreds of people out of work) to even get the ball rolling. Not to mention potential confusion processing the hundreds of development projects currently underway across the region and proceeding under guidelines specific to their municipalities.
There seems to have emerged a sense of modelling amalgamation in this region after the recent merging of Duncan with North Cowichan.
Talk about apples and oranges.
Thirteen Greater Victoria municipalities with distinct identities built upon individual needs and values will have a much rougher road ahead of them to achieve the cohesive dream of local advocacy group, Amalgamation Yes.
Fifteen years ago, the province promised the region would find itself with an amalgamated police force, but here we are in 2018 with virtually no move toward such a goal. If this is any indication of how hard it would be to amalgamate other services, we should grab a coffee because this dialogue is just opening.
If there is one silver lining to the discussion, it’s that this time around, when discussing land use throughout this part of the Island, Indigenous leaders have been offered a seat at the table.