TO THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL OF MY GREATER VICTORIA BC MUNICIPALITY

VERY IMPORTANT: 1. If you signed this petition in person please do not participate in this online version.

2. Please indicate, from the drop down menu below, which one of the 13 municipalities you live in when putting your signature in. (although it appears everyone signing is from Victoria, they are not & the drop-down menu is the final identifier)

If you wish to be on Amalgamation Yes mailing list please email amalgamateyes@gmail.com (we do not have access to your email address from this site).

*Please note: this is not a petition about being in favour of amalgamation or not, simply the desire to see the non-binding question of amalgamation put to the people in a democratic fashion within the CRD.

We, the signatories below, request that Councilof each municipality or township place the followingnon-binding referendum question on the 2014 Municipal Election ballot;

Are you in favour of reducing the number of municipalities in the Capital Regional District through amalgamation?

(A positive result would trigger community engagement & research)

Visit www.amalgamationyes.ca or email amalgamateyes@gmail.com


**Note: Donation requests that occur after you have placed a vote are for the benefit of the ipetitions.com website, not for Amalgamation Yes.


The elected board of Capital Region Municipal Amalgamation Society

Nominating Committee
Richard Atwell (two years), Karen Harper (two years) and Gregg Meiklejohn (one year).
Board members for one year
James Legh, Colin Nielsen, Andrew Reeves and Bernard Von Schulmann
Board members for two years
Jim Anderson, Marg Gardiner, Aaron Hall, and Tony Heemskerk.
Executive
Sandy Menzies, Treasurer
Earle Anthony, Secretary
John Vickers, Vice President
Susan Jones, President

Sponsor

Capital Region Municipal Amalgamation Society Our Vision—is a vibrant, diverse and integrated regional community responsive to local needs through effective planning, co-ordination and delivery of services to ensure a high quality of life for current and future generations. Mission Statement—to achieve more effective and accountable governance within the capital region through municipal amalgamation. Values—participatory, inclusive, engaging, forward thinking, respectful, results oriented, goal driven, transparent and accountable.

Links

www.amalgamationyes.ca

Discussion

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Recent signatures

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    Hugh Williams

    4 days ago
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    Anthony Hutchison

    4 days ago
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    Basil Ounsted

    1 week ago
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Petition highlights

  • We’ll have what they’re having - Recently Victoria and Colwood have agreed to place a non-binding referendum question on amalgamation on the next municipal ballot in November. Others will no doubt follow. Voters in these communities, representing over a quarter of the population of Greater Victoria, will have a chance to state a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ preference for their municipality to explore opportunities to cooperate for integration of service delivery. A ‘yes’ vote will trigger provincially-funded studies to determine the feasibility, benefits and costs of various models of integration. It will not trigger amalgamation. A ‘no’ vote will maintain the status quo. Here in Oak Bay, requests for a similar opportunity are brushed aside. Most councillors have responded negatively with a variety of reasons, e.g. being too busy, having no mandate, etc. Effectively, this translates into a belief that they already have a ‘no’ mandate. But do they? If our elected officials are certain of this position, then what is lost by posing the question? The cost of placing the question on the ballot is minimal. During the last decade, local government legislation was amended such that the province cannot force amalgamation. Fair enough. Any movement in that direction must come from the municipal governments themselves. Also fair enough. But what if a council refuses to seek a mandate from their electorate on the question? Is that fair? Normally, our system of government contains checks and balances to curb the excesses of power. But the current legislation has placed municipal councils in a serious conflict of interest, because power, once attained, is not easily relinquished. It’s a basic unsavoury aspect of our human nature, even for well-meaning council members. Refusing to allow residents the opportunity to deliver such a mandate, has the effect of denying basic democratic rights, and that seems like an abuse of power. If residents were smart enough to elect this council, are we not smart enough to give them a mandate through a non-binding referendum question? The need to implement cooperative relationships with neighbouring municipalities will not subside without a clear direction either way. Can we afford more needless deaths due to botched multi-jurisdictional policing and fragmented 911 systems problems? Are we satisfied to watch the squabbles of non-elected CRD members as their delays incur millions of dollars in excess costs? Can we ever hope to pay the cost of the Uplands sewer separation, now topping over $2,300 per Oak Bay household? Do we really need 13 fire chiefs and separate fire departments? Do we not cross the Blue Bridge and attend the McPherson/Royal theatres? Don’t we all write Victoria as our postal address? Are we disappointed by infrastructure planning that does not meet daily travel needs? Regardless of how residents answer the above questions, shouldn’t they at least be given the opportunity to exercise their electoral franchise and provide clear policy direction to our local government? Savvy politicians will recognize the gravity of this mess. It’s shaping up to be the key election issue in 2014 that will not go away, and municipal candidates across the region will be required to declare a clear position. We’d like what Victoria and Colwood are having. A little democracy. Lesley Ewing Oak Bay http://www.vicnews.com/opinion/letters/246076181.html
  • Nanaimo is eating Greater Victoria's lunch because of 13 muni's, Mayors, 91 Council members. CFAX 1070, Ian Jessop interviews Sasha Angus, CEO, Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation January 28, 2014. Mr. Angus was Manager, Communications Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, Manager, Policy and Government Affairs Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, and Economic Development Officer Greater Victoria Development Agency. Mr. Angus is the now CEO of Economic Development Nanaimo and he aims to take business out of Greater Victoria and move them to Nanaimo. Its fair to say Mr. Angus is fully aware of the strengths of the Greater Victoria area, and weaknesses. Mr. Angus has recently launched an aggressive advertising campaign targeted to Victoria businesses, enticing them to move from Greater Victoria and into Nanaimo. An example of a company that recently moved to Nanaimo that Angus held up is a company who praised the Nanaimo City Council and City Staff for making it easy to invest in the community. 40 jobs is what the company brought to the community. Yes, Greater Victoria's 13 Mayors and 91 Council members is talked about, in the light of how this does not provide 'predicable processes' for business and is a detriment to attracting business to Greater Victoria. Business people want predictability, 13 Mayors and 91 Councillors in 13 municipalities and a Central Region government body for 360,000 does not provide predictability. Angus is cashing in on that. Angus also noted Nanaimo has affordable housing, great transportation logistics and a better cost of doing business. Angus is cashing in on that. You can start listening at 39.10 to get to the 'meat' of the conversation. http://www.cfax1070.com/Media/CFAX-Podcasts/Ian-Jessop/January-28-2014-1pm You need to sign the petition, tell your municipality to get the non-binding question on the ballot. If it gets on the ballot, if the returning vote is yes, research will begin, community engagement ensues. We need to resolve our issues quickly, Nanaimo is eating our lunch. Do it today, SIGN. (Please pass on to your network) http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/amalgamationyes
  • Comment: Why not ask voters about amalgamation? John Weaver / Times Colonist January 24, 2014 Only Victoria and Colwood have so far agreed to let voters express their views on amalgamation by answering a simple question on the ballot papers in the municipal elections later this year. Other councils seem reluctant to consult the public on this issue, presumably because they are happy with the way things are. Why then are the proponents of amalgamation, such as the society Amalgamation Yes, asking all municipalities to follow the lead set by Victoria and Colwood? They are concerned not only with the perceived reduction of costs, simplifying the bureaucracy for doing business in the region, and the need for a regional police force, but also with the fact that a unified community speaks as one voice when competing with other cities, rather than squabbling internally. Other smaller cities, for example, have spacious centres for the performing arts. No local municipality alone can afford such a building, but neighbouring councils are loath to contribute anything to facilities built within the artificial boundaries of their “rivals.” In a unified city, an art gallery that befits the outstanding collection currently housed in the cramped quarters on Moss Street would have been built by now; the Blue Bridge replacement would not have been a burden on Victoria taxpayers alone; the cut-price Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre could have been larger and more lavishly appointed for the major touring shows and sports events that attract crowds from the entire region. Cities such as St. John’s, Halifax, Windsor, Saskatoon and Regina, are represented on the Big City Mayors’ Caucus, which meets to discuss and lobby the federal government on such issues as housing, homelessness and infrastructure renewal, all of vital concern here. Yet we have no voice at this table because Victoria is regarded as a city of only 80,000, rather than a metropolitan region of almost 350,000. By contrast, Regina, with no surrounding municipalities feeding on its core amenities and a population only half that of Greater Victoria, is considered a “big city.” Amalgamation would correct this illogical situation in a stroke. Opponents of amalgamation will claim that a multitude of municipalities preserves their identities and offers better opportunities for local involvement. Within Victoria itself, however, there are several neighbourhoods with their own unique ambience — James Bay, Fernwood, Cook Street village, Rockland — all having input to city council through their neighbourhood associations. There is no reason why Esquimalt, Oak Bay and View Royal would not continue to flourish in a similar manner after amalgamation. Moreover, what is the alleged advantage in the present structure if it also encourages a disregard of regional co-operation in planning and transport? Langford is commendably preserving its rail access for future commuter transportation, but Victoria is severing its rail link to downtown. Conversely, Langford decided unilaterally to develop a huge box-store complex, but its impact on the infamous “Colwood crawl” was neglected. Other opponents will point to the alleged failure of amalgamation in Toronto, even though it was already much bigger than the whole of our capital region before its amalgamation with adjacent suburbs. The comparison with Toronto is meaningless and talk of Victoria becoming a mega-city is absurd. The real question is: What sort of tax base does a city need to provide essential infrastructure as well as the cultural, educational, recreational and sporting amenities that make for a desirable lifestyle, while still retaining community involvement in its administration? Many believe a population between 250,000 and 500,000 is just about perfect. Greater Victoria has reached that ideal size, but our administrative structure fosters a mentality of competing smaller communities, each concerned with its own parochial aims while losing sight of the bigger picture. In such a scenario, Victoria itself will suffer. Its homeowners are not the wealthiest in the region and its business tax base is continually eroded by developments in neighbouring municipalities, such as Uptown in Saanich and big-box stores in Langford. It cannot continue indefinitely to be the cultural, commercial and entertainment hub that a future mid-size city of 400,000 deserves without some changes to the way the region is organized and taxes distributed. The numbers of elected councillors and mayors in the “big cities” of western Canada compared with Greater Victoria are, with populations in parentheses: Winnipeg (730,000) 16; Regina (193,000) 11; Saskatoon (246,000) 11; Edmonton (820,000) 12; Calgary (1.1 million) 15; Vancouver (604,000) 11; Surrey (502,000) 9; Greater Victoria (345,000) 91. Obviously, something is seriously amiss in this region unless, of course, all the other cities have got local governance completely wrong. Is it not reasonable, therefore, to ask municipal voters whether or not they accept the present plethora of municipalities as the best way to administer a geographically and economically cohesive region of 350,000? John Weaver is professor emeritus at the University of Victoria. - See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/letters/comment-why-not-ask-voters-about-amalgamation-1.799954#sthash.SaY4UZj6.dpuf
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