Election 2014: Amalgamation ‘not a Saanich debate:’ Mayor

District of Saanich: Leonard says amalgamation is for smaller municipalities to decide on their own

The Capital Region’s largest municipality is coming under increasing pressure to ask residents what they think of amalgamation at the ballot box, but Mayor Frank Leonard says the discussion isn’t one his residents need to have.

On Monday, Esquimalt and Sidney councils joined Central Saanich, Langford and Victoria when they agreed to put a non-binding amalgamation question on the ballot in the Nov. 15 municipal election.

“The debate is not a Saanich debate,” Leonard said.

“It’s not our place to comment on whether our neighbours are too small. That’s for them to do internally.”

The question will ask residents if they support moving forward with a provincially funded study of various models of integration for the region’s 13 municipalities.

Municipal councils can then choose how to best proceed with those options.

John Vickers, AmalgamationYes spokesperson, said a yes majority vote would give municipal leaders the tools to evaluate the benefits of further integration.

Vickers cited an Angus Reid poll conducted in July that showed 89 per cent of people surveyed felt the amalgamation question should be put to residents at the voting booth.

“Five municipalities have recognized the right of the public to have a say on this,” Vickers said.

“As long he [Leonard] denies the call from constituents in his own community, then he’s certainly not doing any favours for the region or for Saanich.”

While an online AmalgamationYes petition has less than 1,000 signatures, Vickers said volunteers have collected thousands of hard copy signatures across the region, many of those in Saanich. Specific numbers were not available.

Leonard said the logistics of managing Saanich’s sprawling farms, parks, urban areas, lakes and streams takes a small army of 1,500 municipal employees, and that increasing those responsibilities won’t necessarily result in efficiencies.

“All our colleagues recognize these challenges, apart from maybe one vocal mayor. They too know that bigger isn’t better,” Leonard said.

“The only government bigger than Saanich around here is the CRD, and that doesn’t help the bigger is better argument either.”

Saanich council does not have any discussion scheduled around the amalgamation ballot question at upcoming public meetings, he added.

editor@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Victoria wins crucial WHL contest over Giants in Langley

Royals take over second in B.C. Division ahead of Vancouver

Needles far more prolific than public realizes, says local biohazard company

Leaving needles around ‘considered bad form among intravenous drug users’

Man hospitalized after early morning Sooke Road crash

Police say injuries are non life-threatening

Strike could start Monday for handyDart

BC Transit warns users to find alternate transportation

WATCH: Giant waves smash Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point

Folks made their way to Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point Lighthouse on Thursday, Jan.… Continue reading

New meeting structure saving Saanich staff time

The decision to separate regular council meetings from committee-of-the-whole meetings has shown… Continue reading

World’s fastest log car made in B.C. sells for $350,000 US

Cedar Rocket auctioned off three times at Barrett-Jackson Co., netting $350,000 US for veterans

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

RCMP nail sex toy thief

Shop owner plays a role in arrest

Ice-cream-eating bear draws controversy

An Alberta Wildlife Park posted a video this week of one of their bears going through a Dairy Queen drive-through

LETTER: The sewage spiral continues in Greater Victoria

My left brain has been trying to digest the news and comments… Continue reading

Fernie, RCMP go to court over city log books in fatal ammonia leak probe

Log books center stage in clashing of investigations between the city and RCMP

Renowned Comox Valley sasquatch researcher passes away

A renowned biologist and leading Canadian sasquatch researcher who called the Comox… Continue reading

Most Read