by Roger Stonebanks, citizen reporter
All nine members of Saanich council ratified on Jan. 8 their earlier recommendation that “Council call on the Province of B.C. to establish and fund a Citizens Assembly on Amalgamation with interested municipalities.”
Also ratified was the recommendation that Saanich “remain receptive to any initiatives for the creation of a regional police force and request the Mayor write to local Mayors requesting participation in discussions on the potential of a regional police force.” Victoria-Esquimalt, Saanich, Oak Bay and Central Saanich have municipal police – other areas have the RCMP.
Both moves arose from recommendations from the earlier Governance Review Citizens Advisory Committee report and council’s Governance Task Force Standing Committee report which went before council’s committee of the whole last month and were recommended to council for ratification.
At the same time, council voted to support Saanich continuing to “work towards shared services” and to “work towards shared and joint services and support neighbouring communities with Saanich-provided services by agreement.”
Coun. Colin Plant said earlier recommendations were “being amplified” and council was simply endorsing a process and it should not be assumed “we are ready for amalgamation.” Coun. Fred Haynes described the initiatives as “two big steps.” Coun. Susan Brice said a Citizens Assembly would be “a process . . . an engaging exercise” to gather information.
As to possible term limits for council members, this would require provincial approval. Council will write to the Union of BC Municipalities recommending that UBCM “consider” (rather than the province “establish”) term limits for municipal elected officials. No specific limit was mentioned in the motion.
Video of the council meeting can be viewed HERE.