A new poll has found nearly three quarters of Metro Vancouver residents think the region should be reorganized into fewer municipalities, but there’s no agreement on how far any amalgamation attempt should go.
Just 14 per cent of those surveyed by the Angus Reid Institute supported merging all 24 local governments into a single Metro Vancouver super-city, while 26 per cent would keep all the existing municipalities, and the rest are split between other options to redraw boundaries.
The survey found 33 per cent think two to five cities could serve the region well, while 13 per cent said it would take six to 15 and another 15 per cent suggested 16 to 23.
As for how regional government should work, 41 per cent support the current system of electing local mayors and councillors, who then represent their municipalities at the Metro Vancouver regional district board.
Another 31 per cent preferred a directly elected regional board that deals with select issues, but leaves most matters to local councils.
Pollsters said the results show little consensus and only modest appetite for change.
Residents of smaller and mid-sized cities within Metro Vancouver tended to be less supportive of amalgamating municipalities than residents of Vancouver or Surrey.
Respondents were evenly split on whether policing should be regionalized, ending the patchwork of municipal police and RCMP detachments.
But most agreed other services like transportation and economic development should be regionally delivered, while services like libraries, parks and fire departments should be left to local municipalities. A smaller majority of 57 per cent saw social housing as a regional responsibility as well.
Amalgamation was discussed in some municipalities in last November’s civic elections – some areas like North Vancouver and Langley are split into a city and a district or township – but there has been no serious push to pursue it.
Mayors of smaller cities have repeatedly said their voters want to maintain local control of services.