We should learn from Toronto amalgamation

Re: “Amalgamation can’t fulfil cost-saving promise,” comment, July 5.

Having lived through the 1998 Toronto amalgamation, I know the author is absolutely correct. There were no cost savings.

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Even more important, taxpayers lost effective local representation and accountability of local councillors. Rather than taking an issue in the community directly to our local councillor whom we had elected, after amalgamation we were required to make a formal presentation to a “committee” composed of councillors most, or all, of whom were elected by a different part of the municipality. They had little knowledge of local issues and some had very limited interest. It might be analogous to asking a Sooke councillor to deal with Dallas Road dog-walking matters.

Our local elected councillors generally couldn’t help because a committee had authority on any particular issue. Taxpayers lost representation, accountability and transparency without any cost savings.

Amalgamation also began a process where individual neighbourhoods and communities began to lose their unique character and charm, perhaps because there was less local political representation and accountability. It would be tragic if that were to happen here.

If you like the way the Capital Regional District has handled sewage treatment for the past decade, including all the expense, you’ll love amalgamation.

Elizabeth Borek

Saanich

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