It is encouraging that movement to improve government in the Capital Region is underway.
Citizens are interested in better local and regional government in spite of Colwood’s refusal to recognize this. Meanwhile the province appears not to take an interest in good government in the region. It says to the municipalities, ‘it is up to you to arrange things for yourselves.’ What if these arrangements are not working and getting worse?
Tax dollars flow to local government from the province. Would the province not want to have those dollars used as efficiently as possible? Would the province not be interested in promoting good governance at the local level? It seems not.
Problems have been mounting and no action taken. The sewage debacle is only the latest example of dysfunctional government.
In jurisdictions elsewhere in Canada, senior governments have taken the lead in promoting change through intense local consultation. The process is collaborative but the senior government takes the lead.
The province should examine the problems of government in the region and propose options — in consultation with citizens — for improvement. These would then be the subject of a referendum to be held in the short term.
You could say there is a crisis in local government and steps should be taken now to deal with it, not in four or eight years. The province must offer the leadership that many in the region are asking for. Municipalities need leadership and support from senior government.