This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: Mega-city unsuitable for region.

This week’s topic: Should the Lower Mainland become a mega-city like Toronto with one election for the entire region?

Brent is right on the money when he states: “What an election!” For politicos, there’s no bigger rush than election night – watching the polls come in to see what direction voters will take their cities. This year’s civic elections did not disappoint. They were riveting.

The big winner in this year’s civic elections is democracy, as many cities saw significantly higher voter turnouts. Regardless of the outcomes, increasing voter turnout is a positive sign that many voters are perhaps beginning to understand the power of their vote at the municipal level.

While it’s accurate to state that many issues facing our civic leaders are regional in nature, it’s simplistic to think that amalgamation is the cure for what ails us. Transportation issues in Vancouver such as transit are in no way comparable to cities like Surrey or Langley – it’s apples and oranges. You really don’t need a car in Vancouver, whereas in Surrey it’s a costly necessity for most. The same goes for the environment or development – while both are top of the list in both Vancouver and Surrey, it’s for different reasons.

Read Brent Stafford’s column here.

Supporters of amalgamation always resort to using cost-savings and more efficient service delivery as the biggest reasons for doing so. One city hall instead of five or six, fewer mayors, less waste, centralized administration, blah, blah, blah.

Sounds great until you actually take the time to see how it’s worked out for the other regions or cities that have done so in Canada. It hasn’t always been a success and, at times, it has been considered a failure…

 

READ the rest of this weeks column in response to Brent’s argument, comment and vote, HERE: http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2014/11/16/mega-city-unsuitable-for-region

6 thoughts on “This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: Mega-city unsuitable for region.

  1. Frankly, amalgamation is not the answer for much of anything. Nothing is reformed by that kind of change except BIG money will have more influence. No one who lives in the city wants a BIGGER city hall even further from the neighbourhood in which they reside. Having said that, no one likes the GVRD or Transit that operate without accountability to the neighbourhood they plow through either. And everyone wants ‘efficiencies’. Methinks this one of those push-me, pull-you issues that has no resolution because it comes with city living.

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  2. nonconfidencevote

    I moved to the lower mainland over 30 years ago.
    I constantly shake my head at the “balkanization ” of the entire region.
    Almalgamation in other regions may have failed due to the poor way in which it was implemented. By that I mean. If you dont sell it to a majority of the people, it’ll never fly. There will be some that will never accept change but hopefully people can see the positive benefits for a regional city.
    How many different police forces do we have? There’s the RCMP in North van, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Surrey, Langely, Richmond, . Ok. But then we have the West Van Police, First Nations Peackeepers(Squamish nation incorperating North van), Vancouver City Police, Port Moody Police, New West Police, Delta Police, TRANSIT POLICE (Time for a side rant! That one made me laugh when I heard a politician justifying the creation of the transit police even though they had former retired police officers making 80k per year as “transit security”. The reason we needed Police on transit? “We need a multijurisdictional police force!” Ummmm I thought we already had one called the RCMP).One other aside. If we had a unified police force that EASILY shared information between jurisdictions would Willie Picton have gotten away with serial killing as long as he did? The trial and the post investigation revealed many many times where the “ball was dropped” due to interagency bias and noncooperation.
    Ok Now I may have left a few police forces out but when you think that all these jurisdictions also have Fire depts, Engineering depts., Sewers, Road work, Park boards, etc.etc.etc.
    Think of the duplication of services. Think of the buying power if all these jursidictions were purchasing as one unit.
    The creation of a ‘supercity” called say the GVRD doesnt mean that Surrey or Burnaby or North Van ceases to exist. ( When you’re travelling somewhere outside of BC do you tell people you’re from Port Moody or Vancouver because most people know where Vancouver is? No big faux pas)
    Which reminds me, The cities have almagamated water distribution , some parks etc through the GVRD.
    Show taxpayers the saving to be had vs the status quo.
    Perhaps a slow, stepped amalgamation of services would be the way to go. Say, Jan 1st 2020 all police forces fall under 1 control, The next year, all the fire depts, the year after that, Road works. etc tec.
    As more cities chase fewer tax dollars. Amalgamation is inevitable.

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  3. e.a.f.

    oh my god, one police forceÉÉÉÉ If policing is ever going to improve in greater Vancouver, the first thing is to get rid of the RCMP. they report to ottawa, not the local politicians or voters.

    making things bigger will not save money, you just get bigger empires under one person. services will go to the area with the most wealthy people, worse than we have now

    transit police are just an example of what happens when people start empire building in large civic organizations.
    they are simply over paid fare checkers. do we really want politicians from richmond determining what happens in burnaby or new west. at least with different civic entities, if one screws up really badly, you can always move. big is not always better. big usually means a loss of control over essential things in a city. its why surrey would be better off cut at least in to 3 cities..

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    1. nonconfidencevote

      There’s an excellent idea.
      Cut Surrey into (my apoligies to Sergio Leone) Three easy pieces. The Good, The Bad. The Ugly.
      I’ll leave it up to the voters of the “district once known as Surrey” to decide which is witch.

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  4. misallocationofcapital

    Strange that there has not been so much as a PEEP over the fact that we now have to endure the latest elected administration for FOUR long years.

    Terms used to be THREE years, and for anyone with any memory TWO before that…

    That’s collectively a far, far bigger theft of democratic clout than would be a “megacity”.

    Yet not a whisper of complaint…

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