EDITORIAL: Too much government

Take a 10-minute walk in parts of Parksville Qualicum Beach and you could step in three different jurisdictions

It’s difficult to understand Vancouver Island’s fascination with big government.

Perhaps it’s about more, not big governments, but it seems a waste of taxpayers’ money no matter how it’s labelled. From our perspective, more government is big government.

There are 13 municipalities in Greater Victoria. Driving north on Blanchard, you are all of a sudden in Saanich. Nothing has changed in your surroundings really, except the municipal boundary. Oh, and what force handles the law enforcement. Keep driving and you cross lines into Central Saanich and then North Saanich. We are missing some for sure — Northwest Lower East Side Southern Saanich?

Any business worth its salt would not put 13 managers, 13 chief financial officers, etc., in a geographical area the size of Greater Victoria. Our company, for example, does not have a printing press in each of Comox, Campbell River, Parksville, Nanaimo, Duncan, Ucluelet, Port Alberni and Port Hardy where we have newspapers. We have a press in Ladysmith.

Closer to home, the government landscape isn’t quite as convoluted as Victoria but it has its curiosities and its duplications. We liken it to how people in this region view parking. If they can’t park within 10 metres of where they want to go, it’s seen as a problem. Goodness forbid people (who are able) might have to walk a couple/few blocks to get to a shop or office.

It seems we want government at every corner too. Let’s state a couple of (non) facts, two sentences that are certain to upset some people in these neighbourhoods:

San Pariel is in Parksville. So is River’s Edge.

But they are not, of course. They are part of the Regional District of Nanaimo. These homeowners likely do much of their shopping in Parksville, drive Parksville roads, enjoy Parksville parks, etc., while enjoying the lower property tax rates of the RDN.

That’s all well and good until something creeps up like the proposed link between Rathtrevor Provincial Park and Parksville Community Park. Travelling up the coast, the resorts are in Parksville, Rathtrevor is provincial government jurisdiction, San Pariel is in the RDN and then you are back in Parksville after crossing the Englishman River.

Want to ensure nothing gets done? Involve three levels of government.

We say Parksville from the Island Timberlands intersection on Highway 19 to the French Creek Bridge, then Qualicum Beach from the French Creek Bridge to the Little Qualicum River Bridge, with the Inland Highway as the western borders.

— Editorial by John Harding

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