So on the night of the municipal elections in B.C., I sit waiting to see the news unfold on Twitter. Courtenay has a new mayor, and two new Councillors, Comox has two new Councillors. I am un-educated on the policies of any of the newly elected. I believe that the new Courtenay council and mayor are believed to be more fiscally responsible.
I am awaiting the results of the Cumberland election, pondering something that has been on my mind for years. Here we are, a large area of Vancouver Island, with a relatively small population, having four local governments. I believe that this is a huge waste of resources. I see that it is very important that if major infrastructure projects are needed, development is going on, and planning for the future, this area needs to work under one government and look after it all. Homeless shelter, bridges, water projects(one system for the majority of the valley based off Comox Lake), sewage treatment(Cumberland and Royston tying into the existing system), traffic and transportation planning, trails and recreation, waste management, policing, fire, etc, would all be handled by one body. Permits and bylaws could be streamlined so they are the same across the board. We could cut three CAO's, three GM's, three CFO's plus the dozens of other duplicate jobs. Maybe staff levels wouldn't change to a huge degree, I don't want people to lose there lively hood, but I also can not stand the thought of wasted tax dollars. It could just be more streamlined. Each existing municipality could be a "burrough" and have representation on council based on population. The three Official Community Plans would be combined and strictly followed.
As a resident of Cumberland I am worried that we will be un-able to grow a tax base because of a water shortage. This community is not sustainable. Eventually it is going to fall apart without some major cash injections. To be able to hook into a regional water system that could be designed for the whole area and everyone pays based on number of hook-ups, would be much more affordable for this town(my opinion). As well as joining to the state of the art sewage treatment plant already in operation, that the Regional District currently maintains for Courtenay and Comox. Cumberland has the garbage dump in its boundaries, which is run by the Regoinal district as well. It is just all so confusing and resource wasting.
Of course much protest would result of this idea, bringing it to a vote might see it being turned down. It just makes sense to me. How can this Valley deal with the huge decisions with four different bodies intermingling and arguing. It is just silly to me. What do you think?