Monday, July 08, 2013

Is the current local government structure the most effective and best one for us?

With the increased debate of amalgamation we keep hearing from people not in favour of the idea what might be wrong with amalgamation, what we do not hear about is why the status quo works well for people. I think any debate of amalgamation has to focus first and foremost on how good the status quo is and if it works for us and this leads the question:

Is having the current 13 municipalities the best and most effective way to govern ourselves in this region?

  • Does having 13 different mayors improve the political voice the people have in this region?
  • Do the current boundaries make sense and lead to good decisions?  Is the best possible division of the  local government boundaries?
  • Are we better served by having competing parks and recreation departments?
  • Should we have 13 different zoning bylaws?
  • Is it more effective to have multiple emergency plans for one region?
  • Is the lack of regional wide planning help the quality of life?
  • Is the work load so large in the region that we need 13 municipal administrators?
  • Is the mix of municipalities make for better governance?  Does having small population local governments and large population local governments mean the decision making is better?
  • Is it best to have local government primarily be concerned about residential interests and not commercial, industrial, or transportation needs?
  • Does having 13 local governments make the costs of government cheaper?
My primary reason I want to see amalgamation is because I can see that the status quo is not giving us good government.   We pay over the odds for a lower quality of day to day government when compared to Nanaimo, Kelowna, Saskatoon or Abbotsford.   We really fail when it comes to bigger picture issues such as planning and, preparation for emergencies.
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