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It’s Full Steam Ahead for Saanich Governance Committee

Feb 03, 2017 Editor

by Roger Stonebanks, citizen reporter

The 12-member Governance Review Citizen Advisory Committee in Saanich – which has been under way for almost a year – will soon click into high gear with a full launch and opportunities for public input at workshops and town hall meetings.

The official launch will be on Feb 9 at a news conference at 11 a.m. in the Kirby Room of the Saanich Police Building. There will be “targeted engagement sessions with individuals and groups” in February, committee chair John Schmuck told Saanich Voice Online. “We are now in the process of identifying groups to involve in these sessions,” he said. “Some examples will be seniors, youth, First Nations.”

Four public meetings will be held in April and May. Schmuck said, “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 they wish to participate in and both daytime and evening sessions are scheduled.”

“We want to hear from as many Saanich residents as possible,” said Schmuck. “In addition to these interactive sessions, there are opportunities to participate through an online survey that will be available from March 31 to May 31 and people are invited to submit written submissions. These opportunities will be widely publicized. See “Who Can Participate” below.

we do plan to allow anyone interested to access if they wish to do so. We will be asking where they live so we can separate the non-Saanich resident replies and assess that data independently

“The public engagement phase will conclude around the end of May. The information collected will be assessed by the committee over the summer. A draft report will then be issued with a final report to council presented in October of this year.”


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Regular committee meetings, open to the public, will continue to be held on the last Wednesday of every month in the Kirby Room.     

Saanich established the committee following the successful referendum question at the 2014 municipal election, which asked: “Do you support Council initiating a community-based review of the governance structure and policies within Saanich and our partnerships within the Region?”

The committee has held 17 meetings since last March. Agendas and minutes are posted on the District of Saanich website HERE.  The committee’s Terms of Reference can be found HERE.

Council agreed unanimously on Jan. 23 to add $70,000 to the committee’s original budget bringing the total budget to $170,010.

SAANICH GOVERNANCE REVIEW – WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?

Will public participation (in person/in communications written or oral/in responses to surveys, etc) in the upcoming Saanich governance review be limited to Saanich residents and property owners? Or can residents and property owners outside Saanich participate?

These questions were posed on Feb. 4 by Saanich Voice Online to John Schmuck, chairperson of the Saanich Governance Review Citizens Advisory Committee.

He answered: “The final version of the survey is not yet completed, but we do plan to allow anyone interested to access if they wish to do so. We will be asking where they live so we can separate the non-Saanich resident replies and assess that data independently. Details to follow soon . . . “

The 12-member advisory committee was appointed by council after this referendum question was approved at the 2014 municipal election: “Do you support Council initiating a community-based review of the governance structure and policies within Saanich and our partnerships within the Region?”