by Roger Stonebanks, citizen reporter
Amalgamation of Saanich and Victoria will be front-and-centre at the Saanich Council meeting on Monday evening (April 23) – with a recommendation for a ballot question at the Oct. 20 municipal election. The agenda allows for public input.
Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell and Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps are recommending in their report to their councils that a joint meeting of their committees of the whole be held “to determine which question both local governments will place on the Oct. 20, 2018 municipal election ballot in order to receive elector ascent [sic- assent] to explore the costs and benefits of the amalgamation between the District of Saanich and the City of Victoria.” HERE is their report including an exchange of correspondence with Municipal Affairs Minister Selina Robinson.
The mayors’ report does not appear on today’s (April 19) Victoria city council and committee of the whole agendas.
Saanich Counc. Colin Plant commented on his Facebook overnight – “To be clear, this would create a process where it would be explored. If the Citizens Assembly recommended amalgamation after the study, then a further referendum would be held. Just like North Cowichan/Duncan.”
The process followed in Duncan and North Cowichan is backgrounded HERE. A referendum on amalgamation will be held on June 23.
Last January, both Saanich and Victoria councils voted to ask the BC government “to establish and fund a Citizens Assembly on Amalgamation with interested municipalities.” No other “interested municipalities” have emerged, to date. HERE is a link to the Saanich Voice Online story at the time. HERE is a link to the last SVO story on the subject.