The City of Victoria supports the idea of allowing an independent citizen’s assembly to determine options for amalgamation of the City and the District of Saanich. One reader says it’s critical to keep govenment intervention from spoiling the process. News file photo

Victoria mayor sees larger domain through potential merger, reader writes

Citizen’s assemblies need a chance to operate free from government intervention

Citizen’s assemblies deserve a chance (Mayor’s Message, May 4)

In 2014 municipal voters said yes to the ballot-box question: Are you in favour of reducing the number of municipalities in Greater Victoria through amalgamation? But this is no guarantee they’ll now see merit in the City and District of Saanich getting hitched.

Frankly, judging from strong negative feedback regarding the approval of controversial development projects, citizen trust level in local elected officials has worn thin. Many suggest that the public engagement decision-making process is deeply flawed.

What’s at stake? The credibility of the political decision-making process. Judging from the shifting city skyline, the process is stacked in favour of deep pockets and large lobby groups – including property investors, real estate developers and building contractors.

Is governing Victoria enough for Mayor Lisa Helps? Apparently not. Now she deserves a chance to rule a larger domain, provided citizens approve the proposed Victoria-Saanich merger, if it gets to that point.

Citizen’s assemblies demonstrate effectiveness in solving a variety of complex social and economic issues. But this happens only when they’re not manipulated by government to satisfy a predetermined outcome.

Years ago, I asked City Hall to consider using the citizen’s assembly model in land-use planning and development – particularly the articulation of Victoria’s 13 neighbourhood plans. This had been carried out successfully in the development of the Granville-Woodlands Community Plan (2015) in Vancouver.

The mayor’s answer? No thanks, we prefer you join the conversation as we plan the future of your neighbourhood.

Citizens participate in the mayor’s rich, deliberative and thoughtful democratic decision-making process only when openness, transparency and accountability form the foundation of public engagement. This, when all voices are welcome.

Anything less is a ruse to justify what can’t be justified.

Victoria Adams

Victoria

Just Posted

Central Saanich will allow police officers to use pot

Marijuana use by officers not allowed 24 hours before duty

Inside Victoria’s tent city: ‘I’m still human’

Campers share their experiences of homelessness, struggles to find housing

Two weekend crashes involved cars and houses

VicPD say alcohol is believed to a factor in both incidents

Afternoon collision launches vehicle through downtown Victoria business

Two female drivers and staff of CEV Victoria uninjured, but visibly shaken

Campers near Saanich municipal hall await response from transportation ministry

MOTI expected to decide Monday when campers need to leave

Advance voting begins Oct. 10 in Greater Victoria

The polls open at 8 a.m. for the 2018 municipal election with the general election taking place Oct. 20

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

Transport Canada to take new look at rules, research on school bus seatbelts

Canada doesn’t currently require seatbelts on school buses

Sockeye run in Shuswap expected to be close to 2014 numbers

Salute to the Sockeye on Adams River continues until Sunday, Oct. 21 at 4 p.m.

Michelle Mungall’s baby first in B.C. legislature chamber

B.C. energy minister praises support of staff, fellow MLAs

Canucks: Pettersson in concussion protocol, Beagle out with broken forearm

Head coach Travis Green called the hit ‘a dirty play’

5 tips for talking to your kids about cannabis

Health officials recommend sharing a harm reduction-related message.

NHL players say Canada’s legalization of marijuana won’t impact them

NHL players say the legalization of marijuana in Canada won’t change how they go about their business.

Most Read