Need for FVRD dialogue

Six members of Abbotsford council have instructed the mayor to begin negotiations to withdraw our city from the FVRD.

According to recent media reports, six members of Abbotsford council have instructed the mayor to begin negotiations to withdraw our city from the FVRD.

This type of change could impact every member of our community. I am puzzled at the thought that a decision of this magnitude can be made without consulting the electorate.

Shouldn’t there be substantive dialogue with Abbotsford voters before making a decision which has unknown and potentially far-reaching ramifications? Am I the only one who feels left out?

Citizens will certainly want assurance of the expected savings. Are there objective studies which attest to this? A decision of this nature must be undergirded by reliable data, not mere optimistic assurances.

Further, how will this impact Abbotsford’s relationship with neighbouring communities? Our reputation probably is already somewhat tainted by our willingness to ditch Mission and go it alone on P3 water. Will our neighbours stand with us if we have a disagreement with the province on future issues? On our own we will have little clout.

Senior staff would need to be involved in providing information and possibly in the negotiations. Does this mean other areas of responsibility would be neglected?

There is also the matter of lawyers’ fees. What costs do we need to anticipate?

Surely it is essential that the citizens of Abbotsford have a clear understanding of possible implications. This is a matter of immense consequence and it is essential that we be prudent, disciplined, and definitely not hasty. A rigorous dialogue between council and citizens would be a good beginning.

Art Martens