Saturday, April 19, 2014

A meeting with Bill Bell on the state of the world

Of course our world is North Vancouver since both of us will be running for Council.  It was a pleasure talking fine points of electoral strategy and showing some of my analysis to someone who seemed to instinctively know what I meant by looking at a spreadsheet. I'm, of course, talking about Dorothy Bell, a former school board trustee and who could be the brains of the operation.

Bill is not an supporter of Amalgamation but has typical concerns of those in the City that will not support a merger with the view it could be an annexation of the City by the District.  But he is someone that when his concerns are addressed, he could become a supporter. He is, of course, might be one of 4 Councillors who could start the legal process or not.

So in December, let's say 4 members of the new Council (Bell, Bell, Clark and myself) submits and passes a motion to start the legal process which would create a joint committee to write a detailed Amalgamation Plan which is required by the Provincial Government.  The Council members would all make it clear what they wanted to see in the Plan.

The Joint Committee would create several sub-committees to deal with several topics.  The structure of an United North Van council is primary.  Bill said that a ward system would be a precondition for him. District Mayor Walton has mused that there would 4 seats in each area and of course a Mayor elected by all North Van. That's a little too dependent on the status quo for me BUT that sub-committee would have almost two years to make a recommendation to the main committee who would make a recommendation to the two Councils. That's plenty of time to get proper public input and to explore several different options.

This is the point where Bill, Don and Rod gets their assurance. The City Council would have to pass the Plan and all its specifics. So Bill, as a Councillor, would be able to assess whatever Council structure is decided and then vote on whether the Plan goes to a referendum or not.  All of Council could assess every point and propose amendments to it. Of course both the City and District would have to pass the exact same document.

At that point, every voter in North Vancouver becomes equal to a Councillor and the referendum must pass in both the City and District to take place.  There would be a year until the election of an United North Van Council.

As in the last step of a referendum, on November 15th, every voter in North Van has a say equal to a Councillor.  By voting just for the 4 members of United North Van, clearly marked on the ballot, you guarantee that first step will be taken.  We have two years of formal, independent professional studies, town halls and public meetings to discuss and probably over-discuss every "nuts and bolts" issue of amalgamation. Then, a Council vote and a referendum.

Do you think you have the right to make a vital decision such a this or just the Council for their but probably not your interests?  There are only a few times when you have control, exercise it on November 15 by voting only for Unite North Van and reunite North Van.

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