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

Saanich swimmer has ribs removed, posts them on social media

Jill Yoneda makes light of rare surgery for ‘slipping rib syndrome’

Transplant caregiver starts website for financial, mental health support

Beth Campbell-Duke started Transplant Rouges after her husband’s double lung transplant

Victoria ranked as one of B.C.’s worst cities to work in

High living costs and low average incomes drop Victoria from the top 10

Cyclist without helmet thrown onto windshield in Victoria

Despite damage to bike, cyclist uninjured following accident

Annual UVic Xmas tree sale goes on despite loss of beloved tree farmer

Mike Fleming of Saanichton Christmas Tree Farm partnered with students for annual fundraiser for nearly 20 years

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Federal government plans examination of coerced sterilization

The Liberals have been pressed for a rapid response to recent reports on the sterilizations

Huitema, Cornelius named 2018 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

Huitema was captain of Canada’s fourth-place team at this year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup

Canada not slowing emissions from oil and gas: environmental groups

New report released at the United Nations climate talks in Poland

Liberal Party moves Trudeau fundraiser from military base

The fundraiser is scheduled for Dec. 19, with tickets costing up to $400

Pipeline protesters arrested at B.C. university

Three protesters were arrested after TRU property allegedly vandalized with red paint

Goodale to ‘examine’ transfer of Rafferty to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Minister appoints former CIRB chair to resolve Canada Post labour dispute

Postal workers engaged in weeks of rotating walkouts

Most Read