Election 2014: Saanich approves ballot question on governance review

District of Saanich: No direct question on amalgamation, but idea will be open to discussion in future, council says

Saanich residents will be presented with a ballot question at the Nov. 15 municipal election, though it won’t be specific to amalgamation.

The unanimously endorsed question, put forward by Mayor Frank Leonard, differs significantly from that of other Capital Region municipalities. It will ask: Do you support Council initiating a community-based review of the governance structure and policies within Saanich and our partnerships within the Region?

“I appreciate you’re all supporting this,” Leonard told councillors after they offered ringing endorsements of the motion. “Once it’s approved, (this question) will become owned by the community and the agenda will be set by the community, not by council.”

Amalgamation proponents had been pushing Saanich to approve a non-binding ballot question that asks residents if they support studying various models of integration for the region’s 13 municipalities. The study would be funded by the province, and municipal councils would then choose how they want to proceed with those options.

So far, Victoria, Esquimalt, Sidney, Central Saanich, Langford and Oak Bay have agreed to ask residents about amalgamation at the ballot box.

During discussion before the vote, Coun. Judy Brownoff said a governance review will bring Saanich in line with modern governments and offer an opportunity to highlight Saanich’s current regional partnerships.

“The motion is appropriate in that we’ve had some issues around some governance things. We used to have presentations, now we don’t,” she said.

Brownoff said Saanich puts $1.5 million annually into the Capital Regional District’s Arts Committee, and that other regional financial commitments need to be better publicized.

Coun. Susan Brice called the ballot question “momentous,” and said it will provide for broad community input. “There can be no limit to the suggestions that may arise,” she said.

Outside council chambers after the vote, Saanich mayoral candidate Richard Atwell criticized the decision and said council is avoiding asking residents about amalgamation by asking a less relevant question.

“Council is proposing a Saanich-made solution that will be paid for by Saanich taxpayers, when everyone else is pursuing a straw poll that will engage the provincial government and allow for a provincially funded study on amalgamation options,” Atwell said. “The most interesting part for me is that even with this, the public didn’t have input. They did this at council, not at committee of the whole.”

The municipal election takes place Nov. 15.

editor@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Former child care worker charged with Saanich sexual assault pleads guilty

Jesse Doig arrested in May, remaining in custody since

Victoria’s 2020 Capital City Comic Con to feature a special Star Trek guest

Cherry Bomb Toys announced tickets for the event will go on sale on Friday

Man swinging election sign threatens to kill woman in Oak Bay

Police detain aggravated man without use of taser

Water damage at G. R. Pearkes facility expected to cost an estimated $500,000

Flood repairs have begun at Saanich library, recreation centre

Rugby Canada helps recovery efforts in Japan after typhoon cancels final match

Canadian players wanted to “give back in whatever small way they could”

VIDEO: #MeToo leader launches new hashtag to mobilize voters

Tarana Burke hopes to prompt moderators to ask about sexual violence at next debate

VIDEO: Bear spies on cyclists riding by on Campbell River street

Riders seem unaware the bruin is mere feet away on the side of the road

Two Cowichan Tribes families devastated by duplex fire

Carla Sylvester sat in her vehicle, on Tuesday morning, with tears in… Continue reading

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in US after ‘accidentally’ crossing border

Parents travelling with three-month-old reportedly being held in Pennsylvania

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Alberta to join B.C.’s class-action lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, distributors

B.C. government claims opioids were falsely marketed as less addictive than other pain meds

VIDEO: Trudeau, Singh posture for ‘progressive’ votes while Scheer fights in Quebec

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, whose party has been on the rise in recent polls, is campaigning in Toronto

Advance voter turnout up 25% for first two days: Elections Canada

Two million people voted Friday and Saturday

Most Read