Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps addresses the public through a livestream during her daily COVID-19 briefing. (Facebook/City of Victoria)

Amalgamation: Helps feels like ‘rug pulled out from under her’ after Saanich mayor’s report

Saanich council to consider nixing amalgamation study with Victoria

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said she felt as though ‘the rug was pulled out from under her’ upon learning the mayor of Saanich wants to halt movement towards amalgamation.

Helps’ remarks came Thursday afternoon during her daily COVID-19 press briefing. She said she had only learned of mayor’s change of heart 30 minutes prior.

“I’m still digesting it,” Helps said. “I was under the impression that Saanich and Victoria had committed to a process that was mandated by both of our voters in the last election.”

RELATED: COVID-19: Saanich council to consider closing the door on amalgamation with Victoria

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes is calling for a “cease and desist” on the Citizen’s Assembly exploring amalgamation of Saanich and Victoria. Haynes asked council to write a letter informing the City of Victoria and the province of the District’s choice to stop work on the Citizen’s Assembly “until further notice” and reallocate the $250,000 assembly budget.

Helps said she was surprised by the turn of events.

“I am prepared, and I know council is prepared, to honour the wishes of our voters that we heard loud and clear in the 2018 municipal election,” she said. “If Saanich is not prepared to do that then I guess we’ll leave that to them.”

Helps added that, despite the ongoing pandemic, there is still more than two years until the next election “which is a lot of time to run a Citizen’s Assembly and sort this stuff out.”

READ ALSO: Conflict expert explains how to talk to people who aren’t social distancing

The mayor also announced increased outdoor physical distancing measures in the city, including the closure of parking areas off of Foul Bay and Crescent Roads serving Gonzales Beach Park. The roads will be open to emergency vehicles only.

New signage will also be deployed at narrow path areas, including the Songhees Walkway, reminding people to keep a safe space from others and follow health advice. Helps said the City is working closely with the Township of Esquimalt for a coordinated approach to the issue.

“We can put up all the signs we want but really it’s up to you,” Helps said. “This will help us to get life back on track and enjoy all the outdoor activities in a more normal way.”

With files from Devon Bidal.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

City of VictoriaCoronavirus

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

Just Posted

VIDEO: Neighbours help Sidney woman mark 103rd birthday with surprise parade

Barbara Chorlton celebrates her ‘best birthday so far’

Racism is here too, say Victoria’s black community leaders

White Victorians have role to play in combatting systems of oppression, prejudice

Shortage of foreign workers costs Saanich Peninsula berry farmer thousands

Gobind Farms says hiring local has been difficult during pandemic

Pedestrian, cycling overpass now open at McKenzie Interchange

Bridge connects Portage Road, Galloping Goose Regional Trail

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Most Read