Meetings being held on public governance

Saanich Governance Review Citizens Advisory Committee responds to recent concerns

In response to some recent letters to the Saanich News, several of which we believe to be based on misinformation, our committee would like to update your readers as to the progress of the Saanich Governance Review Citizens Advisory Committee.

In the last municipal election Saanich voters were asked the following question: “Do you support council initiating a community-based review of the governance structure and policies within Saanich and our partnerships within the region?”

A total of 88.5 per cent of voters said “yes” and Saanich council appointed the Governance Review Citizens Advisory Committee (GRCAC) to conduct a study and come back with any recommendations for change.

This committee is comprised of engaged Saanich residents who are unpaid volunteers providing their time and experience. Funding has been provided by Saanich for the hiring of a consulting group which is guiding the public engagement component of the study. We encourage interested Saanich residents, including those who have commented previously, to contact us via our email address saanichgovernancereview@shaw.ca with their input or by accessing our online survey at www.saanich.ca/governancereview.

Community engagement began in November 2016 with three exploratory discussions with diverse groups of stakeholders. These sessions provided valuable early input for the review and assisted in shaping the broader public engagement.

Since then the committee members have been meeting regularly with the consultant group to synthesize and build upon the information gathered to date. The funding provided by Saanich will allow the committee to gather opinions from a wide variety of Saanich residents. This work is the beginning of an ongoing improvement in governance-related issues and processes to reflect public opinions.

Four public meetings will be held in April and May. These have been designed to accommodate as many residents as possible. Two different formats are available so people have a choice in the type of engagement in which they wish to participate.

Both daytime and evening sessions are scheduled. A workshop will be held Wednesday, April 12 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Cedar Hill Golf Course clubhouse; a workshop will be held Saturday, April 22 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Gordon Head Recreation Centre; a town hall dialogue will be held Wednesday, May 17 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Commonwealth Place; and a town hall dialogue will be held Saturday, May 27 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Garth Homer auditorium.

The public engagement phase will conclude at the end of May. The information collected will be assessed by the committee over the summer. A final report with recommendations will be presented to council in October of this year.

We ask all Saanich residents to encourage their friends and neighbours to participate in this process. Our desire is to listen to Saanich residents and consider their thoughts in our findings.

Have your say in governance for Saanich.

John Schmuck, chair

Saanich Governance Review Citizens Advisory Committee