Our take: Can't democracy move with the times?

A dedicated group of people mistrusts the Cowichan Valley Regional District so much it appears willing to knock on doors in the pouring November rain and risk higher taxes to take it down.

And if it turns out the community agrees with them, then hey, that’s what democracy is all about.

But we are not writing today to take sides on the CVRD’s push to make garbage collection a public utility throughout the valley.

We are writing about the frustration being expressed by these citizens about the effort they will have to put in to making their wishes public policy.

And while we don’t believe the path to democracy will ever be easy, it could certainly be easier than this.

It’s not hard to get on your soapbox and scream about the Alternate Approval Process as a sneaky negative billing program. While there are parallels, it is actually an attempt to find a middle ground between an expensive referendum and letting your elected officials make decisions without any check or balance at all.

In a nutshell, it means the people can stop a local government program, but only if they are really motivated and/or angry.

It shouldn’t have to go that far.

We are a wired society that can’t go more than an hour without checking our smartphone. Why can’t the CVRD set up an easy-to-use electronic system to present ideas to the voters and gather its feedback?

We’re not talking binding referendums, or a static website. We’re talking about actively seeking the voters’ thoughts and making it easy for them to respond.

We’re not scrawling on parchment anymore. Democracy should use the tools it has.

We have a lot of bright people out there. Let’s get them on this.

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