Individual councils protect ‘fiefdoms’

Amalgamation of municipalities would take provincial intervention

Re: Pressure on Saanich as amalgamation debate rages (Gazette, Sept. 17)

After moving here last year, I was shocked to find out the number of individual municipalities there were in what is clearly meant to be one city.

At first, I didn’t understand why it was different, when compared to the Greater Toronto Area and the Halifax Regional Municipality, where I’ve lived previously and have seen the results of amalgamation.

But your article makes it clear. If the decision to examine the pros and cons is left up to individual councils, it likely won’t happen, because the mayors and councils do not want to risk losing control of their personal fiefdoms.

One of the efficiencies to be gained from amalgamation is a reduction in paid councillors and, human nature being what it is, why would people support something that could jeopardize their positions?

I’m pleased to see several municipalities allowing the question to go on the ballot this fall, but that’s only because it is non-binding.

The only way amalgamation is going to move forward is if the people get a lot louder and a higher authority (i.e. the provincial government) directs it to happen.

That’s exactly what it took in Nova Scotia, and that’s what it’s going to take to make it happen here.

Now, obviously from this letter, it’s clear I support amalgamation, but let’s see what the study says at least, Mayor Leonard, before saying it’s not an issue for Saanich, eh?

Alex Barlow