Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Would we draw the boundaries like this?

I have to once again look at the stupidity of the municipal boundaries in the CRD and I can only ask would we have drawn the boundaries we have today in the same way? I can not imagine anyone saying that we would.

The boundaries in the CRD are remnants of parochial decisions, some more than a century ago. The city of Victoria boundaries were natural ones for the urban areas when they were drawn up. Problems began with the creation of Saanich and Oak Bay in 1906 and Esquimalt in 1912. The Conservative government of Richard McBride made a huge error in allowing the creation of Oak Bay, Saanich and Esquimalt.

There may have been a case for Saanich as a rural municipality, but the provincial government should have seen that Saanich was going to become urbanized in the future. The government at the time should have created a Saanich that was rural and farming in nature and expanded the boundaries of the City of Victoria.

The divide between urban and rural was a problem in Saanich very quickly. It was enough of a problem that Ward #6 of Saanich petitioned to leave Saanich and was incorporated in 1950 as Central Saanich. It should have been clear in 1950 to the Coalition government of Boss Johnson that the existence of Saanich as a local government did not make sense. When Central Saanich was created, the rest of Saanich should have been amalgamated into Victoria.

I have yet to have anyone explain to me why View Royal, Colwood and Langford were all created as separate municipal governments between 1985 and 1992. There was no plan to how this happened, it was just allowed to happen in a disorderly manner which has left us with more local government than is needed. Certainly the boundaries of what is View Royal now was not a single community before 1985. How did the neighbourhood around 4 mile end up in View Royal?

In understand why Metchosin and Highlands were created and I fundamentally disagree with it. Both were created in my opinion to facilitate the legislated NIMBYism. They are simply further examples of how chaos has been allowed to overrule good governance. Both Social Credit and the NDP bear responsibility for creating the jurisdictional mess that is the Westshore.

Good local mayors would call for a complete redrawing of the boundaries in the CRD. The only reason a mayor would oppose this is for personal selfish reasons.

Not only does it lead to bad local governance having boundaries that do not reflect the communities we live in, it also leads to an undemocratic situation. This unfair situation could be a way to encourage amalgamation.

One way the provincial government could encourage amalgamation of local governments is to change how regional districts are funded. If the funding were changed to a per capita basis based on representation for each local government. At the moment CRD does not give Saanich or Victoria enough weight on the CRD board based on population.

It is unfair that Saanich and Victoria have a majority of the population but do not have the majority of the CRD board. It is fundamentally undemocratic to allow Highlands to have a vote that is 1/5th of Victoria's when they have 1/40th of the population.

Maybe it is time to give Saanich and Victoria 10 years at the CRD with representation on a better per capita basis than Highlands. In know that will never happen, though the people in Highlands are happy to have a much bigger voice than they democratically should have in the CRD.

There are so many ways in which good governance is harmed by continuing with municipal boundaries that everyone knows no one would draw today. We have planning that does not work well, we have a multitude of councilors and mayors looking for things to do even though they know the region is harmed by the continuance of their local government.

The real leaders in our area will call on all the existing boundaries to be erased and to have the provincial government set up a non-partisan board to draw modern and relevant boundaries for our area.

As a final note, I defy anyone to give a rational argument for how the current boundaries serve us in any positive way. In fact, I would happily debate anyone anywhere at anytime about this because I know there is no ethical justification for View Royal or Oak Bay.
Post a Comment