Letters: Youth engagement welcomed by Saanich; Atwell showing leadership

Jillian McCue presented exceptionally well in her delegation report on miniature goats at Monday night’s Council meeting.

Jillian McCue presented exceptionally well in her delegation report on miniature goats at Monday night’s Council meeting. We all appreciate that a request for a change in the District’s bylaws requires a clear, careful and appropriate process.

Jillian and her parents understood this and willingly accepted the invitation from Council to present their case at the Advisory Committees that are tasked with the process of addressing the applicable policies and bylaws.

It has been a two-year process for Jillian (age 11) and we look to complete this process in June. Respecting this, Coun. Murdock, Plant and I were each able to confirm the times and dates of our three committees with Jillian and her parents. On a personal note, I reflect that this is an amazing and rich experience in civic governance especially for one so young.

Engaging our youth in the political processes and rigour of local governance is an special opportunity, indeed a privilege. Previously this year, in another example, we saw Saanich Council unanimously support the “Blue Dot” recommendation brought forward in a local campaign championed by Rupert Yakelashek (age 10) and introduced by Coun. Susan Brice. This resolution has now moved forward with support from other municipalities to consideration at the Union of B.C.Municipalities and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Additionally, Saanich is moving forward on its Task Force on Agriculture and Food Security which we anticipate may well talk to the issues of “agricultural” animals across the District. Jillian’s presentation has helped move this conversation forward and I look forward to hearing from her at the Planning Transportation and Economic Advisory Committee.

Coun. Fred Haynes District of Saanich



Atwell showing leadership on tough decisions

I recently listened to Mayor Richard Atwell on the radio talking about improving the way Saanich Council makes decisions. Imagine a local political decision maker who wants to be better informed on the outcomes and consequences of decisions before they are made. Imagine a mayor looking outside his organization (including the CRD) and wanting to bring in insights that will challenge the idea that we can’t change because we have always done it this way.

Imagine a council deliberating on the relative merits (benefits, costs etc.) of different several options by comparing their potential consequences, with what is happening now.

Saanich is a good place to live, and we do the routine things well, like the delivery of utilities and emergency services. Now Saanich Council must develop the capacity and core competencies necessary to successfully address tough issues, like sewage treatment and the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan. Mayor Atwell is demonstrating he has the leadership skills we elected him to deliver in the November 2015 Municipal Election;  and especially on tough issues, we desperately need.

Ray TraversSaanich