The sudden announcement about a June 23 Duncan-North Cowichan amalgamation vote isn’t very welcome news.
The time of year near the end of the school term and other factors practically ensures a low voter turnout. The public is also bound to have so many questions and unlikely to seek the answers to make an informed decision.
Despite all the advance work that’s gone into it, the result can only be confusion and the outcome isn’t even binding.
As much as many people believe our local governments need to be more streamlined, amalgamation really doesn’t make any sense for so many reasons. It’s still hard to picture all the territory from Duncan, the outlying areas of Maple Bay, and then the Chemainus and Crofton regions all being combined.
You really are talking about two distinct parts that must be separated.
What really needs to happen now is extensive work on changing the boundaries of the city and municipality.
Duncan being one square mile is ridiculous and its staffing to cover that minuscule area is far too excessive. North Cowichan’s territory reaching from the outskirts of Duncan and into Chemainus and Crofton is far too large and part of it needs to be incorporated into Duncan.
Once some sort of new boundaries are finally determined, there will still need to be two councils. If Ladysmith has a town council, Chemainus and Crofton and the region close to each community requires the same representation.
The North Cowichan part, once reduced, won’t require the current overabundance of employees to run the municipality.