Proposed plans for a citizens’ assembly on amalgamation will be on the agenda when council meet Monday

Proposed plans for a citizens’ assembly on amalgamation will be on the agenda when council meet Monday

Saanich to learn more about amalgamation process

Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell and Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps will meet with a senior provincial official next week to discuss plans for a citizens’ assembly on amalgamation.

Atwell said the April 11 meeting with Marijke Edmondson, director of governance and structure branch, local government division is part and parcel of a search for a process that will allow citizens rather than elected officials to steer any future process.

Neither Saanich nor Victoria are currently pursuing a specific outcome, he said. It is instead about finding a process, because citizens will ultimately decide, he said.

Atwell made these comments after Selina Robinson, minister of municipal affairs and housing, responded to Atwell and Helps’ request for a meeting to discuss the establishment and funding of a citizens’ assembly on amalgamation with interested municipalities.

Saanich along with Victoria had asked for the meeting after council ratified a recommendation asking the provincial government to establish a citizens’ assembly on amalgamation.

Robinson said in her letter that the province is “always open to discussing specific, practical proposals further if local governments can provide plans for how they would proceed in the best interests of their residents.”

Amalgamation studies by their nature are collaborative, said Robinson.

“Should you be ready to advance a joint, specific study proposal — as the City of Duncan and District of North Cowichan did in 2016 — it would be considered in the same way,” she said.

Citing the Duncan-North Cowichan proposal, a specific proposal to the province would among other elements define the scope and geography of a study into amalgamation, its structure, its timeline and costs. According to Robinson, the Duncan-North Cowichan process required an estimated $145,000 plus staff time, with each municipality and the provincial government contributing about a third of the costs.

“In addition, I would suggest that the request also identify any specific benefits to be gained for residents from such an exercise,” said Robinson in the letter.

Atwell acknowledged these items, but said no specific actions would be taken until after next’s week meeting.

Council is set to consider the letter at its next committee-of-the-whole meeting.

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

Just Posted

Const. Mat Jones of the CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit joined a team of Saanich police officers and ICBC representatives cracking down on distracted driving at the McKenzie/Quadra intersection in Saanich on March 3. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
‘Leave the phone alone’: 40 distracted driving tickets issued in two hours at Saanich intersection

Saanich police, CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit crackdown on drivers’ cell-phone use

Police seek information after a pedestrian was hit in a crosswalk at the intersection of Goldstream Avenue and Veterans Memorial Parkway on March 3.(Google Maps)
Witnesses sought in Langford pedestrian hit and run

Suspect is older man driving four-door, gold sedan

The University of Victoria has said some of its students were impacted by an off-campus exposure to COVID-19 last weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria students impacted by off-campus COVID-19 exposure

UVic has not specified where the exposure occurred

This male Dungeness can safely be harvested after passing muster. An official with Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is not clear how well locals on the Saanich Peninsula are complying with crabbing regulations, but her comments suggest that any problems might be of a minor nature. (Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Submitted)
Sidney and Sooke record 57 crabbing violations in 2020

While recreational crab fishery has ‘compliance issues,’ no evidence of ‘large scale poaching’

Cleanup happens after an overnight flood Monday damaged areas of the Oaklands Community Centre. (Facebook/Oaklands Community Association)
Greater Victorians offer flood of support to Oaklands Community Centre

Blown hot water tank Monday night leaves staff cleaning up soggy mess

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Initiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforcement, conservation missions

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

Most Read