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

Victoria teen killed by falling tree, remembered as hero

Tai Caverhill was the first to spot the tree falling towards him and his friends

Victoria woman in L.A. hospital after she was run over twice

Lynn Phillips has suffered from multiple broken bones and internal bleeding

Tiny Yorkshire terrier Poppie survives days on remote island

ROAM rescue crews, family searched for dog, missing in Saanich for days

Researchers say ‘text neck’ causing bone spurs to grow from millenials’ skulls

Technology use from early childhood causing abnormal bone growths in 41 per cent of young adults

VIDEO: Performers awe crowds at 2019 Indigenous Cultural Festival

Dancers and singers from First Nations across B.C. gather in Victoria

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadian communities responding to climate change

New research highlights state of local adaptation planning in Canada

B.C. judge defies lawyers and adds six months to man’s sex assault sentence

‘I find the joint submission is contrary to the public interest and I’m rejecting it’

Man presumed dead after boat capsizes in Columbia River

Search and rescue efforts recovered a life jacket

Crews fight wildfire along Sea-to-Sky Highway

A cause has not been determined, although a downed power line is suspected

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Most Read