by Roger Stonebanks, citizen reporter
The public is encouraged to weigh in on the provincial government’s exploration of potential ways to integrate local services and governance in Greater Victoria – until the deadline of Dec. 15.
They are using a virtual open house model as part of the Capital Integrated Services and Governance Initiative announced by the government last June 1. It uses the PlaceSpeak platform at online.
“It is not an amalgamation study; it is not a detailed service review; it is not a detailed financial or capital expenditure review.”
The consulting team from Urban Systems and Circle Square Solutions has discussed the initiative with the 13 municipal councils and the Capital Regional District (CRD) directors. Fact sheets describing how 16 individual local government service areas are currently delivered have been prepared and can be viewed on the PlaceSpeak site. These include Water Services, Transportation, Solid Waste Management, Sewer Services, Police Services, Government Administration, Housing, Emergency Dispatch and others.
“The PlaceSpeak website will allow for a broader review and discussion of these services and will equip the consulting team with the information needed to provide local governments with potential opportunities for integrated services and governance,” said lead consultant Dale Wall, who has 25 years experience in government administration including three years as deputy minister of Community Development and seven years as assistant deputy minister of Local Government.
“The final report will be available in early 2017.”
The website makes clear what the provincial government’s initiative is – it is about establishing facts about current service delivery and governance, identifying and discussing the issues, and gathering information about other jurisdictions.
“It is not an amalgamation study; it is not a detailed service review; it is not a detailed financial or capital expenditure review,” the website states.
Community Minister Peter Fassbender is scheduled to address the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce on Dec. 1. His topic is billed by the Chamber as “Hear Minister Fassbender speak on a new report regarding CRD governance and services.” However, the report will be drafted after the public consultation ends on Dec. 15 and is expected at the end of January, his office confirmed to SVO. The minister is to speak to the “process” on Dec. 1.
When the consultants were announced last June 1, Fassbender said local governments will make their own decisions about integrated services and governance. The provincial government’s initiative was to gather facts and facilitate dialogue. “The province will not impose an outcome,” he said, adding that “local governments in the region will decide on next steps,” after the consultants report comes out.