Shellie Gudgeon, president of Amalgamation Yes, predicts the citizens assembly studying the pros and cons of amalgamation Saanich with Victoria will start in the early fall of 2019. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Amalgamation advocate predicts citizens assembly in place by late spring

Shellie Gudgson promises Amalgamation Yes won’t participate in assembly

Details remain sparse, but the public can expect to learn more about plans for a citizens’ assembly to study the pros and cons of amalgamating the District of Saanich with the City of Victoria.

“There isn’t anything to share on this right now, but there will be an update released soon with the upcoming council agenda,” said Megan Catalano, a spokesperson with the District of Saanich.

Saanich has scheduled a regular council meeting Jan. 21 and a committee-of-the-whole meeting for Jan. 28.

RELATED: Voters in Saanich and Victoria support creation of citizens’ assembly on amalgamation

Almost 67 per cent of voters in Victoria and almost 57 per cent of voters in Saanich on Oct. 20 voted in favour of the non-binding referendum question on their election ballot: “[are] you in favour of spending up to $250,000 for establishing a Citizens’ Assembly to explore the costs, benefits, and disadvantages of the amalgamation between the District of Saanich and the City of Victoria?”

Almost three months later, a spokesperson for Amalgamation Yes predicts that the pace of the process will pick up.

Shellie Gudgeon, president of Amalgamation Yes, said she expects Saanich and Victoria to jointly outline a draft timeline, budget and terms of references in the coming days, which the respective councils would then approve in principle following a preliminary review.

“A final plan of action for an [assembly] would then be presented to and approved by each [council],” she said. “The [province] would make an announcement to confirm formal support of the process, timing and financial parameters.”

Saanich and Victoria would then issue a joint request-for-proposal to select an independent “facilitator” to lead the membership selection process, as well as meetings, deliberations, and report preparation.

“Timing is uncertain as to whether the [assembly] could be constituted by late spring or commence in early fall of 2019,” she said.

RELATED: Citizens’ assembly on amalgamation could cost Saanich up to $250,000

Gudgeon said the entire process should be as unbiased as possible.

“Other than establishing the [terms of references], elected officials and affected staff should be removed from the process entirely,” she said. “Ideally, sessions would be recorded to have a record and to hold the successful facilitator to account, but no affected staff or elected official would be involved.”

This commitment to fairness and transparency also extends to Amalgamation Yes itself. “As previously committed, to avoid any concern of bias or conflict of interest, leaders of Am Yes will not serve as members of the [assembly] but will monitor the process as it evolves,” said Gudgeon.

“We remain convinced that to respect the will of the voters and to realize the potential of our urban region wherein our municipalities share common interests, a comprehensive, innovative and independent review of the current state of municipal governance is necessary.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Campus View Elementary undergoes $4.2 million in seismic upgrades

Campus View Elementary undergoes significant seismic upgrades

Claremont Spartans win the inaugural Senior Girls’ AAAA Basketball Island Championship

Claremont Spartans win their Feb. 15 game agains the Royal Bay Ravens 71 - 64

Sidney company tastes sweet success with sugar kelp

Cascadia Seaweed is experiencing rapid growth after launching six months ago

North Saanich floats tougher policies for buoys and moorings near Tsehum Harbour

Municipality also considers additional collaboration with Sidney and other communities

Westin Bear Mountain invests $2 million to renovate newly-named spa

‘Amatista Spa’ has yet to announce official opening date

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Most Read