Amalgamation idea for North Cowichan and Duncan becoming confusing

Amalgamation idea for North Cowichan and Duncan becoming confusing

Referendum date hangs in the balance until minister gives it the go-ahead

Amalgamation between the Municipality of North Cowichan and the City of Duncan has long been considered a desirable move.

Now that it’s actually in the stages of potentially going to a referendum this year, there’s a lot more questions than answers.

The referendum itself suddenly came into doubt when B.C.’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson suggested both North Cowichan and Duncan needed to complete certain steps before she could approve a referendum.

Most of the concerns seem to revolve around the transition time to a single municipality from the referendum date for amalgamation if it’s improved.

The early April date for a proposed referendum is rapidly approaching and the fact many details are not yet confirmed doesn’t bode well for it happening.

These matters should have long ago been clarified and confirmed if the referendum was going to take place this year ahead of the next municipal elections in the fall. The closer those two dates fall, the cloudier the issue becomes.

What would an amalgamated municipality even be called?

Duncan? It’s doubtful Chemainus people would like to be buried under a Duncan blanket.

North Cowichan? It seems unlikely Duncan could be erased from the map.

Duncan’s lonely square mile makes the whole situation very strange because there’s certainly the perception it covers a broader area.

North Cowichan’s boundaries should really be smaller and Duncan’s larger to incorporate Maple Bay and the vicinity.

That might be an argument for another day. For now, we have to decide if one size will fit all.