Minister creates uncertainty in Duncan/N. Cowichan amalgamation referendum

City of Duncan and Municipality of North Cowichan hope to hold vote in spring

The timing of the amalgamation referendum between the City of Duncan and the Municipality of North Cowichan may be in question after a letter was received from B.C.’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson.

Robinson said to both municipalities that there are number steps they must complete before she can approve the referendum.

They include a better sense of costs and resources that would be available during the transition to a single municipality, more information on how Duncan and North Cowichan would operate in the time between the referendum and the actual amalgamation (if approved), and a framework on how the new inaugural single council would be developed during the transition period.

“When both councils have considered and agreed on such matters and shared them with me, I will be in a better position to consider your request for a vote and to follow up on the timing of such a vote,” Robinson said.

The amalgamation of Duncan and North Cowichan was recommended by the 36-member Citizen’s Assembly in May after a lengthy review.

As part of the 2014 municipal elections, both Duncan and North Cowichan councils agreed to include on the ballot a non-binding opinion question in regards to exploring the costs and benefits of amalgamating the two municipalities.

In North Cowichan, 68 per cent of those casting ballots voted in favour of conducting an amalgamation study, and in Duncan, 52 per cent of voters were also in favour.

After the study concluded that amalgamation was feasible, both councils decided earlier this year to hold a referendum, pending permission from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and had indicated that holding the vote in the spring of 2018 was preferable.

FOR RELATED STORY, CLICK HERE

North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure said hopes were high that the referendum would be held sometime around the beginning of April, but the letter from Robinson may change that.

“Staff had hoped that we had already answered all those questions for the ministry,” he said.

“We thought we would hear back from the province in terms of what funding the government would provide us to assist with the referendum and the amalgamation process, if amalgamation is approved.”

Lefebure said he thinks the best response to the letter is to send a more formal letter to the ministry with the information that is being requested included.

He said that letter will likely be sent early in the new year.

“We are now in a position of uncertainty in regards to the referendum and its timing,” Lefebure said.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Robert Barron column: Let’s hear it for the kids

The students I talked to at the event came from numerous schools

Cowichan transgender woman hosting Gender Identity Expression Day

“We need to have a public conversation about this.”

Andrea Rondeau column: Chemainus Theatre Festival a unique, surprising venue

Not many towns the size of Chemainus can boast a year-round professional theatre

Sarah Simpson Column: Perfect road trip features flat tire and lost wallet

My husband is a loser. Not a loser in the dead-beat, good-for-nothin’… Continue reading

Are you 55 or older? Try 5 sports for free

June 5 event promotes BC 55+ Games and active living

VIDEO: Protesters in Penticton gather to rally against sleeping-on-sidewalk bylaw

The proposed bylaw would outlaw sitting or lying on the city’s downtown sidewalks

Coming up in Cowichan: From bike rodeo to ‘A Word About Consent’, lots on the calendar

Christian Science event coming to Duncan Saturday, May 25 “Breaking News: Freedom… Continue reading

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Most Read