Saanich one step closer to joining amalgamation study

Letter will be sent to province, but only after public input

  • Jun. 19, 2015 1:00 p.m.

Saanich is one step closer to participating in a province-led study of amalgamation in the Capital Region.

On Monday night, council approved drafting a letter to B.C.’s Community Minister Coralee Oakes indicating its willingness, in principle, to participate in a study of governance in the region. Staff are being asked to first garner public input about how that letter should be written, and Saanich’s participation in the study will depend on terms of reference from the province and nature of the proposal.

“We’re pleased that the largest municipality in the region has chosen to participate,” said John Vickers, spokesperson for AmalgamationYes, a grassroots group that has been lobbying for a study of some form of amalgamation since 2014. “(Saanich’s) citizens deserve to be part of the study to see what is the best governance structure for the region.”

Saanich residents voted  88 per cent in favour on a ballot question last November that asked if they support “a community-based review of the governance structure and policies within Saanich and partnerships within the Region.”

So far, Victoria, Esquimalt, Colwood, North Saanich, Central Saanich, Sidney and  Metchosin have written to Oakes indicating their willingness to join a regional amalgamation study. Langford and Oak Bay plan to table similar motions soon, Vickers said.

“Hopefully Oak Bay, View Royal, Sooke and the Highlands will also join in the conversation so that a thorough and comprehensive governance and amalgamation study can be done,” he said.

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