In April of last year, as a result of our many concerns surrounding the “deer issue” in Saanich, including council’s referral of the matter to the Capital Regional District thereby skirting public participation in this issue, we wrote to the mayor and council to specifically request that the district undertake a formal public consultation process.
We requested that the consultation process include a study of the nature and extent of the problem, a survey much like the district’s citizen survey, open houses at which the Saanich residents could discuss, debate, decide the issues face-to-face with each other and with the district.
We received no direct response from the mayor and council to our request for a full and open public process with respect to this very important matter.
We now note that, some seven months after our specific request was basically ignored, that the municipality is undertaking a “public participation project” in response to a growing interest by Saanich residents for involvement in the district’s decision-making processes.
The logical conclusion would appear to be: public participation when the district so chooses; no public participation when the district doesn’t so choose.
The arbitrariness of restricting the public’s participation on the very whim of the district would appear to undermine the integrity of the proposed policy, as well as the whole intent by the district to extend public participation in its matters.
We hope that the final “public participation” policy will address this important issue to provide more direction to the district – and more certainly to residents – about exactly how “public participation” is to be guided and managed within the district.
Dave and Shari Poje