Friday, November 24, 2017 Why continue all this nonsense?

In February of 2005 this blog was founded with the following words: Why start all this nonsense? 
Quite simply because as residents of North Vancouver there are several layers of political activity that can have a dramatic impact on our lives. Many (If not most of us) tend to leave the goings on a City Hall, the provincial legislature or Ottawa to the political junkies and those with an immediate vested interest in a particular decision or initiative. We believe there is a need for an open forum for all of us to share our thoughts on the local political scene, and over time, make them available to others. We will put the topics forward, propose different points of view, and let everyone jump in. Right or wrong. We'll see if it works, but there will be no harm done in giving it the old college try. North Vancouver needs to be heard!
This was almost to the day when Facebook was launched at Harvard, and a year and half before Facebook opened their doors to people other than students.  It was a year before Twitter launched. five years before Instagram, and two years before the iPhone appeared.  It was eleven years before Russian trolls  started flooding social media with Fake News about Hillary Clinton.

At that time blogs and forums were the platforms of choice, and email lists still ruled the Internet -- as well as Usenet.

Times have changed in in cyberspace, and the way that people discuss politics has changed with it.

After many months of moderating this blog I have to ask the question: does it still serve a purpose?  Local politicians avoid it like the plague, as do most informed and thoughtful people in the local political scene.  The number of non-Anon participants can be counted on one hand, and my suspicion is that even the Anons number less than two dozen people.

On one hand I'm pleased that we've managed to greatly reduce the flame wars, trolling, and one-issue content that made the blog so unpleasant.  I'm glad to see the end of inflammatory and unfounded allegations about our elected officials.  But although the quality of discussion has improved greatly, the volume of traffic has slowed to a crawl, and even that tends to repeat a handful of themes over and over.

In looking at archived pages over at the Internet Archive it's apparent that is nowhere near the thriving place that it used to be.

I emailed John Sharpe and Barry Forward a while back, suggesting that maybe it's time to wrap up the site.  No word from them, but I'm still feeling that way.  I'm also open to handing it over to someone with more time and connections who can, just possibly, revitalize it.

So folks? What say you?


Hazen Colbert said...

This blog only has relevance in the context of democracy. On the North Shore, at least at the municipal level, there is no democracy. Public input at both CNV and DNV Council is now limited or altogether censored. Last week in the DNV Bassam and Walton had no hesitation to violate the Charter S 2 at a public hearing by unilaterally deciding that the input of a party was not appropriate simply because they did not want to offend their developer friends. No one stood up to defend free speech. Councillor Bond made the rounds last fall including meeting with John to have anything he did not like on this blog removed, which it was. At the same time Bond and his friends at the NSMBA then went on a rampage against Monica and I on No consequences. For a time a couple spoke at DNV Council regarding the environmental degradation of municipal lands adjoining their home. When municipal hall got tired of them, the RCMP were dispatched to have a chat with them at their homes. Hey, when you took over the blog a year ago you immediately started eliminating anything said that was critical of any municipal elected official. People have given up on democracy and activism. They know that many of our politicians at the municipal level at least are long bought and paid for by private interests. Heck some of them were sold up the rive and send COD. Sometimes the bias of the decision makers passes to the point of the ridiculous such as DNV Council approving a development application at Crown & Mountain where the developer, from West Vancouver, made headlines in the National Post after it was discovered there is a warrant for his arrest in California for selling American military technology through Canada and Turkey to Iran. No problem with that said 5 of 7 DNV councillors. We are open for business. That is sheer idiocy. Then came the DNV\s OCP Implementation Monitoring Committee, overflowing with real estate agents. developer's lawyers, Walton & Stuart kiss asses and neophytes. It would be a laughing matter if it was not so tragic. Wendy has left. John has lost interest. Monica is tired of being insulted. And I am tired of being harassed and even threatened to keep quiet. I have only so much resources to complete Supreme Court proceedings. This blog, like public consultation on the North Shore is dead. I, at least, get a greater measure of satisfaction from chatting with my dog than I do presenting credible, evidence based information in public forums and in return being called a liar and threatened.

Anonymous said...

If whatever Mr. Colbert is selling remotely appealed to the general public, he wouldn't have come in last place when he ran for council. Democracy is working just fine.

Hazen Colbert said...

Anon 4:26

It is precisely personal insults such as yours absent any context or clear factual evidence that have made this blog extinct. While I was critical regards to select people in my comment I provided clear fact and evidence including sources. There is absolutely no democracy at the municipal level in British Columbia and on the North Shore. There is however, on the North SHore a collection of folks with their own meritless projects such as The Blue Cabin ($300,000 spent already, another $200,000 to come and then we have annual operating expenses to float the stupid thing around the lower mainland on a barge compared to buying one at Home Depot for $13,000). Other silliness includes a $20,000 totem pole (I built one in secondary school for $50), beer served in barber shops, Lynn Valley bike lanes, a bridge over Lynn Creek not 100 metres from Main Street, and backyard hens. Not a shred of merit in any of them and nothing but a passing laugh from the public. Yet these items were or are high on the agenda at CNV and DNV Councils. The money wasted truly boggles the mind. There is no democracy which is why we have a 17.7% voter turnout on municipal election day, to the best of my knowledge just a fraction of voter turnouts at the municipal level compared to everything east of the Rockies in Canada.

Anonymous said...

So, just because you personally see no value in any of these things, they are worthless to others? Good lord but you're full of yourself. Maybe you aught to move back east of the rockies, eh?

Hazen Colbert said...

Anon 9:46

How is it that you know I came from "back East?"

That information is not a matter of public record.

Perhaps Mr. Bond (yes I have IP address sourcing and tracking software), you should not make it so obvious that your friends Mr. Stuart et al have spent 3 years researching my background to help them understand why they keep losing in court against me :-) and why I do not give a rat's ass about their tools of harassment.

In any event I have no interest in anything you have to say or to write. I would not believe a word out of your mouth if your tongue came notarized. You are tiresome and ill informed.

Instead of playing video games all day long at work with roads, traffic lights and vehicles etc. pick up a shovel and start building new highways and bridges.

Warm regards dear.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know. I was responding to your statement: " the best of my knowledge just a fraction of voter turnouts at the municipal level compared to everything east of the Rockies in Canada." It suggests that you're familiar with Eastern locales, so just a logical assumption.

And since you know nothing about me, the rest of your words are water off my back. What I know of you I learn from published and public record. It isn't attractive. Dear.

Anonymous said...

BTW, dear, if you think I'm Mr. Bond you need different IP tracking software because you're wrong.

Hazen Colbert said...

Mr. Bond is a fictional character created by Ian Fleming so you may be correct.

The reality is that there is no open or public debate any more allowed on the North Shore.

An example, again from DNV Council, came last night when Councillor Mackay-Dunn made an absurd statement that Mr. John Harvey was alleging perjury. Perjury requires swearing or affirming in court or swearing/affirming an affidavit. Mr. Harvey referred to neither.

We have municipal councils that ignore the public and proceed with laughable decisions, supported by a series of municipal stooges who would sell their mother to do a development deal (and send her COD), with a bevy of apologists such as you who are seeking your spot at the municipal teat alongside the NSMBA, the Capilano Tennis Club, Larco, the Seymour Golf Club, Polygon etc.

Time to end the charade. There is no democracy so there is no need for platforms for which to encourage public discourse. At the municipal level we are governed by fascists who force submission at the ends of the truncheons carried by their friends in yellow stripes.

Oh and some of them want to block anyone is not white, heterosexual etc from being first to buy homes here through the locals first policy. Just like their ancestors did in the 1920s with the Chinese Exclusion Act and just like DNV Council did in 2014 with its moratoriam on development in Seymour. The Canadian Charter? It does not apply on the North Shore apparently.


End of story. End of this blog and end of democracy.

Anonymous said...

Must be tough going through life when there are so many enemies behind every social media comment. Do you expect people to take you seriously when all you do is rattle off conspiracy theories?

Anonymous said...

The blog platform is dead as a means of debate. The real discussions are happening on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms. Mr. Colbert appears to prefer this location to share his views. I suspect that it is because he doesn't face a great many people who will challenge him and his talking points. You want debate, Mr. Colbert? Switch to a platform, such as twitter, that engages a larger segment of the local population. Plenty of spirited debate. Fewer anons, too. Come on, what are you afraid of?

Hazen Colbert said...

I am waiting for you to suggest pistols at dawn. It is more romantic than Twitter or Facebook.

Anonymous said...

Frankly I couldn't care less where you post. Seems you like this blog because nobody can be bothered to counter your nonsense. Big fish in a small pond, so to speak. If you were to participate on #NorthVan twitter, I suspect you'd be ripped to shreds by people more knowledgeable and politically astute that you.

Barry, you have my vote to shut this place down. It's outlived its usefulness.

Hazen Colbert said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Ok Barry..
Things have been a bit slow here, but I think any ray of light of any colour is worth keeping open through a cloudy patch. The blog format allows for longer posts than ( god forbid ) TWITTAH. And the likes of Hazen, whether some agree with or not, are bringing awareness to the denizens of this place unlike other organs such as North Shore News and ... and.. ???
Hell I don't know. Are there any?

Maybe it's a change of format needed, or a team effort so that more topics appear more frequently. I don't know but I'd hate to see the last breath.

But just in case Barry, thanks for time and efforts. We haven't usually agreed but it doesn't mean I haven't appreciated you.

L Leeman ( aka Anonymous )

Anonymous said...

There is a municipal election in 10.5 months. We need a place like this.

When Barry Forward started this forum back in the day he created content. He interviewed candidates, created lists of politicians positions on matters and published vote results. Draining the cesspool is not enough, you have to give people a reason to link to the site and actual content is so scarce on the North Shore that you would be linked in no time.

Voting records are available on the City and District websites but no one compiles them into a concise voting record... start there.

It can't be only about the comments section.

Anonymous said...

Are you volunteering to do all that work, Anon 11:58am?

Hazen Colbert said...

For any democracy to function two important aspects are voter engagement as evidenced by turnout at elections, and voter knowledge.

Turnout is simply too low in North Vancouver municipal elections to consider the process a functional democracy, albeit the outcome is a form of democracy.

Vote knowledge is even lower evidenced by the fact that issues such as nominal taxation levels (nominal refers not to the level but simply a number rather than an analysis of the number) and garbage collection often trump far more important matters like public safety. Every year people die at Lynn Canyon. In contrast I am not aware of anyone dying from property taxes. Yet property taxes get more attention. The DNV recently approved Maplewood Village a residential community a few short metres from a chlorine plant. Such judgement is outright negligence but other than Dr. Corrie Kost, the location was never raised.

We will not have democracy on the NOrth Shore at the municipal level until people put down their smart phones, their vacation planning and their home equity calculators so that they might actually learn something, then take the time to vote.

This blog is nice to have, sort of like a second piece of birthday cake, but it has no bearing on the actual birth and development of the person celebrating the birthday.

Anonymous said...

"Are you volunteering to do all that work, Anon 11:58am?"

I have a horrible conflict of interest. :)

Hazen Colbert said...

Anon 3:00p,

You appear like the tedious inevitability of an unloved season (Hugo Drax -1979)

Anonymous said...

Have you looked in the mirror, Hazen?

Hazen Colbert said...

I have.

I get better looking each day.

Some folks say that I'm egotistical

Heck I don't even no what that means.

It must have something to do with the way that I fill out my skin-tight blue jeans.

Oh Lord....(all join in now0

Anonymous said...

And this is the behaviour that displays perfectly why so few people voted for you.

Hazen Colbert said...

I received a lot more votes than did Richard Walton yet he claims to be Mayor? LOL

People did not vote for me because I did not buy their votes as did other candidates. This is my entire point re that we have no democracy at the municipal level. So few people vote that it is easy for incumbents to simply use public funds to buy their way into a council seat at the next election.

Why did members of the NSMBA turn up in droves to vote on November 15, 2014? Because on a promise was made by a candidate to fund the NSMBA with money from the public treasury. And indeed, not 5 months after the 2014 municipal election, the DNV, without benefit of a staff report or recommendations in favour, turned over $100,000+ in cash annually going forward in perpetuity of taxpayers money to the NSMBA for among other things keg parties, flask Fridays, beer tickets and all manner of silliness. It is all a matter of public record if someone takes the time to investigate and do analysis rather than talking through their hat!

Those keg parties and flask Fridays are the NSMBA equivalent of the largess at the municipal level exhibited on the real estate development platform where decisions are made on the basis of the wink-wink-nudge-nudge after months of the rubber chicken circuit, Christmas Cheer delivered by trusted courier, backpacks full of swag distributed at the UBCM and FCM, and all expenses paid "fact finding trips" into the "entertainment zone" of cities including visiting bars, nightclubs and bawdy houses. Again, its all a matter of public record. Just look at the agenda for the FCM in Edmonton two years ago, and the proximity of the FCM in Ottawa in 2017 to the Byward Market (the entertainment district of Ottawa) where, believe it not there were shootings outside the doors of the FCM - all in the public record. Does the FMC ever meet at a conference center near an airport where people would be focused on business. No. Always downtown of a major city. What about the UVCM. Where do they meet> Downtown Vancouver of Whistler. What is wrong with the Comfort Inn in Penticton?

All of the above describes in detail the environment in which are managed at the municipal level. Anyone who takes exception to that environment faces, at the very least, being set upon by the municipal stooges who censor them, the apologists who run these blogs (who are waiting in line for their time at the public teat) and even the truncheon of the constabulary.

It is reality. I write as a person who not only saw it play out, but have experienced it directly.

Mocrael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Entertainment districts tend to be where hotels are unless they are motor inn style in which case they don't have enough rooms for these event. UBCM usually has a mid-year event that is exactly as you describe, motor inn conference style with no frills.

Also the swag bags are not very swaggy and are typically paid for by crown corps, professional associations and the host community's local tourism office. Typically pens, pads of paper, and I seem to recall a two day pass for the local reccentre while you are in town.

Hazen Colbert said...

Hmm the swag bags I have watched being put together included tablets, Oakley sunglasses, tickets to the Fleetwood Mac concert at BC Place, $2,000 Visa gift cards etc.

Anonymous said...

No way. I have attended 4 UBCM's with my work and the total value of the bags was about $50 including the bag or folio.

There are draw style prizes given at the Municipal Expo that is a part of the FCM and UBCM, but again the good prizes are rare and only one or two people in a thousand win something. I saw a $200 point and shoot camera once, a harbor air tour, and some ipads.

" the swag bags I have watched being put together "... I am calling baloney on that one.

Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed the discussion on this blog for many years. All the way back to Ernie, Wendy, Sue and the Anons or those with pseudonyms that made them recognizable but still an anon. I hope that you will continue to host the blog and that it will become reinvigorated as an election approaches.

I would remind anyone who prefers to identify themselves on a blog or as a public figure that they invite criticism of their positions by making themselves and their opinions a public matter. Frankly, I care less whether an opinion is expressed by a named poster, pseudo or anon as the nature of the discussion is the point and, unless the named poster is in a position to make public decisions or spend public money that effects me then it is a pretty even playing field.

Anyway, I hope that this blog remains active and I appreciate the opportunity to participate.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Colbert ran a clean and honest campaign in 2014 free of vote buying, NDP foolishness and mud slinging. He was subjected to all manner of invective and defamation. The affidavit of the Chief Electoral Officer affirming the results was rich for query.

Now he speaks up against rampant corruption and faces invective from those who not only have never put themselves out there in a run for office but report anonymously.

I believe anyone who puts their name to a statement over someone who hides in the shadows.

Anonymous said...

Well bully for you.

If you are replying to my Anon 5:04 first comment on this thread then this is my reply.

I have no opinion of Mr. Colbert at all. I couldn't pick him out of a room full of giraffes. He is no more or less relevant to me than any other poster on this blog. That he chooses to be publicly politically active is his business and, as with all politicians, he will have his supporters and detractors. It goes with the territory and we have seen that story played out locally, provincially and federally. If he thinks that he has been slandered or libeled then he can prove it is court and receive damages. And please don't reply with his list of grievances as it just appears that someone is just using this venue as a platform for a potential candidate's publicity. If he chooses to make some comments on current political issues then he should go for it just like anyone else.

My point is far greater than just one person with an axe to grind. The point is that the CONTENT of a post is the gem on this blog - not the identity of the poster. I am an adult and I will "believe" those comments that make sense,have a basis in reality and are well-posed by the poster. As a thinking adult I don't "believe" post content based upon the identity of the poster. That "blind faith" is exactly what politicians would like us to do. I evaluate the actions of politicians on a decision by decision basis regardless of who they are and they don't get a free pass based upon their last decision.

So, yes please I hope all interested parties will continue to post and I encourage them all and will regard their comments equally on a level playing field.

Anonymous said...

"Mr. Colbert ran a clean and honest campaign in 2014 free of vote buying, NDP foolishness and mud slinging. He was subjected to all manner of invective and defamation."

My recollection is that none of the other candidates mentioned him/you at all, despite all of his/your belly aching. Sorry when you/he switches to third person posting it makes your/his point of view difficult to track.

Colbert attacked candidates personally and when they didn't attack back he hoisted himself on his own petard.

Hazen Colbert said...

Could we try to stay on point.

This blog post is about the relevance of the blog.

My position is that the relevance of this blog, as with any blog about politics, is that we live in a functional democracy and that the stakeholders are generally educated about the issues. With only about 20% of people voting in municipal elections locally, and far less than that number being educated on the issues, there is little value in public discussion.

People do not show up at the polls because they either don't know the alternatives or do not consider their vote has meaning. The reality is that people on the North Shore do not want the unrestrained development we are facing nor do they want the traffic problems we are facing. But they know their local councils do want the development and really do not care about traffic because none of them use public transportation and, to the best of my knowledge, only one of the 14 works off the North Shore in a real job (i.e not a public sector job where people make their own hours and/or work from home). Indeed and again to the best of my knowledge, Robin Hicks is the only member of the DNV and CNV Councils who has lived off the North Shore in his life. Most Councillors and Mayors are living in the same neighborhoods in which they were born. They have a chilling myopic view of the world and bring that to Council.

Change is needed, Wholesale change. We need educated, engaged voters. We need accredited elected officials with broad experience. We need real public input to decisions.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Colbert I am Anon 5:04 and 8:57. I am commenting on the question in the title post asking whether this blog should be wrapped up or revitalized. My prior comments address those questions.

I find your comments somewhat contradictory. On the one hand you are critical of the lack of education on "the issues" of the stakeholders. On the other you advise that there is "little value in public discussion".

I would suggest that there is great value in public discussion of "the issues" in order to elevate the level of public awareness of same. Ergo, if for no other reason this blog has merit and I encourage interested parties to post their views. No need to include your name as, unless you need to see it in print or are an aspiring politician and want some name recognition, your opinion is of value and your identity is irrelevant.

This comment is right on point.

Anonymous said...

"Robin Hicks is the only member of the DNV and CNV Councils who has lived off the North Shore in his life."

Matt Bond moved to the North Shore just prior to the being elected.

Anonymous said...

"Most Councillors and Mayors are living in the same neighborhoods in which they were born. They have a chilling myopic view of the world and bring that to Council."

Wow, being born and raised in the community in which a council member serves is seen as a liability by they guy who came in LAST PLACE. Huh. I guess he thinks he knows what's best for the locals.

Bookham, Clark and Bell are not originally from the North Shore. And others have gone away to university.

Your hyperbole and arrogance aren't going to get you very far, Hazen.

Anonymous said...

Don't fall for the trap...

He says something accurate but in a very angry way, then he says something inaccurate but in a friendly way, you jump on the inaccurate statement as though he said it in an angry way and then he cries "help help the invectives, the defamations help."

It's rope-a-dope for the sinister... I admire its efficiency.

Hazen Colbert said...

Actually Mathew Bond allegedly grew up on the North Shore then moved either the Maple Ridge or Surrey where I understand he completed high school. He attended SFU graduating sometime mid 2000s maybe as late as 2008. He then moved in with his girlfriend Michelle Nieken circa 2008 whom he met at SFU. She (and Matt) owned a home I recall in Burnaby but I stand corrected as to the location. They sold the home in later 2008 or early 2009 so that Ms. Nieken could attend school on the island. They eventually found residence in a basement apartment on Peter's Road in the DNV for $1,000 a month. I do not know whether the apartment is legal but it has a separate entrance and one window. Matt drove to work in Coquitlam, Ms.Nieken commuted back-and-forth to the Island.

As for "chilling myopic" I merely point to the resolution by DNV Council to, in a material way, deny People of Colour a first choice at new housing choices unless they live locally. Such a policy harkens back to the time of the Chinese Head Tax which is why I am concerned about people who have lived all their lives in the same neighborhood on the North Shore. Racism has been an issue here for decades. We have two Councils that are 100% Caucasian where 12 of 14 elected officials live in single family homes, and just one in 14 are renters (Councillor Bond at least check). It is 2017 and we do live in the Lower Maninalnd of British Columbia were near half the population are POC.

Anonymous said...

That's great. If the criteria for being elected is POC and "near half the population are POC" and POC want to run for office then there should be lots of opportunity.

In my world the candidate's colour (sex, gender identity et al) are immaterial and the criteria for being elected is somewhat broader.

Hazen Colbert said...

Anon 7:35

I do not think that on a planet of civilized people there could be anything broader or diverse than colour, nationality, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, differently ableed et al :-)

Perhaps that is why I was not elected. I consider elected officials (and all humans for that matter) first and foremost as people not as an emotional-less paradigm for increasing my nominal financial wealth at cost to those less Caucasian, gender questioning or more in need than me.

I can not be bought and paid for, and I do not buy and pay for others. That cannot be said for some municipal elected officials that I know who would sell their mother to get a vote, and they would send her COD.

Anonymous said...

What in the world are you going on about?

Voters want involved representatives with good decision making skills and a broad background relevant to leading a diverse organization servicing the community.

Whether they are white, brown or purple has no bearing on anything. If race etc. matters to you then fine but it doesn't to me.

Hazen Colbert said...

Municipal politicians are by default parochial. Such a categorization is neither good nor bad. It simply means that municipal politicians, particularly those who have lived only in that municipality all their lives, should limit their decisions to limited local matters such as where to put a traffic light, hours of operation for the local parks, zoning for home renovations, perhaps zoning for smaller developments etc.

Those politicians should not be making decision regarding regional or municipal cross boundary transportation matters, regional economic development, regional planning, rezoning that conflicts with other jurisdictions or requires infrastructure in other jurisdictions etc.

One way to approach the limits of parochial municipal decision is to amalgamate. When Toronto and Montreal amalgamated one of the big benefits was the integration and massive expansion of public transportation initiatives. There was no more in-fighting the way there is here with 22 Mayors all claiming the lens through which they see the megalopolis is the only correct lens.

Evidence shows that indeed property taxes are a bit higher in the amalgamated municipalities. However, those municipalities, because they are so much better positioned for economic growth and able to attract more high valued employment have MUCH HIGHER average wages than the conglomeration of competing municipalities we have in the Lower Mainland. Stats Can data for for 2016 clearly show that among metro populations exceeding 500,000 people, the highest income are found in amalgamated municipal regions - Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal. Where is Metro Vancouver - dead last! Worse is that the trend is worsening for Metro Vancouver, it is falling further and further behind. And that doormat status does not even address the higher cost of living here.

The poster above writes that we need local politicians with broad experience. We cannot get that with an entire compliment of unilingual, heterocentric, English speaking folk who were born, raised, work and live all within a few blocks, all of whom who live in 2-story homes with 2+ cars in the laneway including at least one North American built SUV and/or minivan. When that situation happens you get a group that considers fusion cusine to be a hamburg on the left side of the plate, the french fries on the right side (that is me BTW lol), that all men enjoy stepping up to a urinal in municipal hall and whipping out their schlongs for all to see and that Surrey is an exotic Southern destination.

Anonymous said...

Paragraphs 2 - 4 make sense and are supportable. Paragraph 1 a mish-mash and a coin toss.

The closer is a lulu and absolute nonsense. The level of experience required to lead a muni is entirely achievable by heterosexual English speakers blah, blah. The other stuff is just flavour of the month politically correct speak and entirely unnecessary requirements for such leadership (although they are not disqualifiers either). Unworthy of further reply.

The amalgamation part was pretty good. Yes, of course it has been discussed to death but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have merit. Taxes are inevitably soaring as the majority of muni workers are the CUPE or IAFF unions and the annual 2 - 3% wage and benefit total increases in the operating budgets must be passed along in order to retain existing service levels. The increasing costs of materials and utilities are similarly passed along. Vehicles, major equipment and facility replacement costs in the capital budget also increase annually and they too are passed along.

So where can cost reductions and tax relief be achieved? Amalgamation will prune the duplication of costs at the leadership and administrative levels. So basically one council instead of two and a reduction of senior (non-unionized management and other staff). The work must still be accomplished and the vast majority, if not all, of the unionized workers would likely be retained.

I would suggest that if you want to retain service levels and reduce, or at least hold the line, on tax increases then amalgamation is worth strong consideration.

The counter-argument against amalgamation is a loss of local control with certain councilors no longer carrying the torch for "their" local community constituents. Is this really necessary? Can't an elected rep from lower Lonsdale make good decisions about Deep Cove? I think yes but I know that isn't popular with some of the locals.

So, put me down for yes to amalgamation.