Governance committee unlikely to live up to its purpose

Saanich's Governance Review Citizens Advisory Committee not a good allocation of resources

It came as a shock to read that Saanich’s Governance Review Citizens Advisory Committee has requested and been granted an additional $70,000 to conduct its “work” and a majority of the initial $100,000 in funding has already been spent “working”.

Granted it is encouraging that engagement sessions have commenced. However, the extreme lack of productivity and time lag during the majority of the committee’s existence brings into question its use of public funds.

A quick analysis of GRCAC minutes reveals that a committee comprised of intelligent and experienced individuals spent months of meetings mainly focused on devising a plan, job description and process to find a consultant to manage the committee itself, only to find the single applicant was unqualified, and in the end council aided in sourcing a qualified one.

This is not good use of public funds or time. A more fulsome look into the reasons committee members resigned would concur.

The very essence of the committee’s purpose – to recommend improvements to Saanich governance structure and policies – is likely to fall as dismally flat as the wasted resources spent on recruiting the one non-existent qualified consultant.

Can one honestly expect the public to proffer ground-breaking comments or ideas at the upcoming education/engagement sessions that will radically or even un-radically improve Saanich governance structure? Sure, the public indicated support but how many are really interested in voicing an opinion on a rather “snoozy” topic – if public attendance at GRCAC committee meetings is any indicator, it’s low.

The results of the engagement efforts will reveal if engagement truly “does matter” (GRCAC’s engagement tagline on Saanich’s website) and if this spending has been worth it. Look forward to future coverage.

S. Smith