Friday, January 23, 2015

Amalgamation - nothing happening yet

It has been more than 50 days since the new councils have been sworn and close to 70 since election night and nothing has happened with amalgamation.   We had the public in eight municipalities vote on the issue and in seven cases voted in favour.    It seems there is a fairly clear desire to have something happen but nothing has started.

I do not know why the various local governments have not yet started to do anything on it.   I think the public will accept some delay in anything happening, but I do not think it can be delayed for too long.   At some point the public is going to feel disrespected if nothing is happening.  

The mood of the public is clearly open to the idea of amalgamation.  Going against this mood could lead to a backlash at the polling both in 2018.   Councils need to be seen to be doing something on amalgamation.

I could understand if there were bigger issues looming over the councils in the region, but in the last six weeks I have not seen any major municipal issues come forward.    The Saanich soap opera is not about governance or municipal issues.

If action is not taken soon by the councils I suspect there will be angry public ready to vote for new people.   A significant reason people voted against Frank Leonard was how he handled the amalgamation issue.  He at first dismissed it even though there is very high support for the issue in Saanich and then he offered a question to be put on the ballot that avoided asking anything clear about amalgamation.   I know many people who voted against Frank Leonard purely because of the amalgamation issue.

How long can they leave it?   I think another month or two at most before people start complaining.

What I would like to see is some announcements, one from the three Peninsula mayors and another from the mayors of Esquimalt, Saanich and Victoria.    Something public that says "Yes we are going to work on amalgamation".

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