I appreciate the views of present Courtenay Mayor Larry Jangula and Comox Mayor Paul Ives in their approach to changing local governments.
Former mayors deserve credit for promoting rapid change. It is time for change. We have too much local government and administrations that add cost and little value to essential services.
One obvious solution is to dissolve the Comox Valley Regional District, and assign administrative responsibilities for rural areas A, B and C to Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland.
The Province would have to be involved, as they created regional districts in 1965. A referendum would give rural residents a choice in governance. This could be done in 2014, without any further extensive, expensive studies.
Common services would likely be a better approach than amalgamation. Cities, towns, villages, rural areas have said they want to have their own identities.
With the elimination of the CVRD , there would need to be a rationalization of services. Each of the three municipal councils and administrations could have primary responsibility for key services, for all Comox Valley residents.
For example, it would make some sense for Cumberland to manage solid waste and Comox Valley water — both in their back yard. Comox could manage liquid waste for the same reason and Comox Valley fire protection/emergency preparedness. Courtenay could manage policing, roads, planning and public transit.
These are some of the critical services and some of CVRD’s knowledgeable staff and unionized employees would be absorbed into the three other local administrations. This large change would require extensive planning to ensure that the transition of essential services are well-managed.
The Province has predicted shortage of municipal management skills. It would not be a hardship for the CVRD’s displaced employees to find positions elsewhere.
The Province will need to lead on this. Perhaps the performance audit of the CVRD will expedite the process.