Municipal elections take place in Oct 2018 and our small region of 367,000 will be electing 13 mayors and an army of councilors, overseeing 13 community plans..

This seems to defy logic if our region’s goal is good planning, consistent regulatory standards, and a strong voice to secure govt funding for infrastructure.

Fewer municipalities would mean better planning to identify areas for higher density, protection of environmentally sensitive areas, and investment in infrastructure.

This would create more consistent building code interpretations and efficient development processes. Presently, building permit approvals may take 8 weeks in Saanich or 3 days in Langford.

Small municipalities don’t have populations necessary to achieve federal and provincial funding for major infrastructure projects.

One third of Canada’s population is retiring and many will choose to live in Greater Victoria. We need investment in housing, transportation, water and sewage systems.

In 1980, Calgary began building Light Rail Transit with a population similar to ours today. Calgary now has a population of over one million, and the LRT has been an essential part of growth planning.

The LRT was possible because Calgary has a ward system – a form of amalgamation. Small communities are part of a single municipal council, where councilors work together on issues impacting the region.

The BC govt has once again expressed little interest in amalgamation and therefore responsible planning for our region. But this can still be accomplished at the local level.

Now is the time for potential municipal candidates to consider regional planning as a campaign priority, including unifying 13 municipalities.

This column appears Wednesdays in the Times Colonist newspaper.

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