Mayor Richard Atwell addresses a gathering in Saanich. Black Press file photo

Almagamation or not, review committee continues public input period

Saanich Governance Review Committee holding public consultation to May 31

The initial window for public input on whether Saanich should amalgamate additional (or less) services with other municipalities is coming to a close on May 31.

The Governance Review Citizen Advisory Committee is gathering the community’s ideas, priorities and recommendations for “enhancing local governance.”

The final town hall meetings of the current consultation campaign are Wednesday, May 17 and Saturday, May 27. Public engagement launched Feb. 9 by Mayor Richard Atwell and GRCAC chair John Schmuck.

Residents may also complete the survey at saanich.ca/governancereview.

“… We invite people to attend to learn more about governance and why it is so important, and to share their thoughts on governance in Saanich and the region,” Schmuck said. “The work of local government touches you every day – from turning on your tap to using roads and sidewalks, enjoying parks and taking part in recreation programs.”

The topic has a history of being both conversational and controversial in the region. Some, such as the group Amalgamation Yes, are steadfast that Greater Victoria’s 13 municipalities could be sharing far more resources than they already are.

The GRCAC was created as a result of the 2014 referendum and selected by a majority of Saanich voters who cast a ballot in the 2014 municipal election.

Online consultation for the GRCAC started March 1 and includes a survey, discussion forums and polls.

If you can’t attend a town hall, you can share your comments through email (saanichgovernancereview@shaw.ca) or Twitter (@saanich), said Schmuck.

The town hall on May 17 will be emceed by Dr. Kimberly Speers, and the May 27 emceed by Dr. Evert Lindquist. Both are from the University of Victoria School of Public Administration.

The May 17 meeting will be from 7 to 9 p.m. at Saanich Commonwealth Place, 4636 Elk Lake Dr., while the May 27 town hall is set for 1 to 3 p.m. at Garth Homer Centre, 813 Darwin Ave.

The committee is engaging the public on issues such as decision-making processes, citizen engagement, accountability, transparency and exercise of authority, continuous improvement and the district‘s relationships with local municipalities and within the region.

reporter@saanichnews.com

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