OUR VIEW: One town hall won’t fly

One municipal hall on the Saanich Peninsula. Will it work?

One municipal hall on the Saanich Peninsula. Will it work?

We’ve entertained a few letters to the editor recently on that subject.

North Saanich’s municipal hall is in need of repair. The District of Central Saanich not long ago looked into replacing its administration and police services building. And the Town of Sidney has long had plans to replace its municipal hall, although that is not a pressing matter at the moment.

None of the Saanich Peninsula local governments have come out saying they are even interested in pursuing a single administration building.

At least, they haven’t officially done so.

North Saanich Councillor Murray Weisenberger at the Feb. 11 tri-municipal meeting between all three groups, suggested they consider shared facilities. He has also said informally that he might be the only councillor on the Peninsula who thinks it’s a good idea to look into a single municipal hall.

Yet, even Weisengerber admits with the need pressing in his own jurisdiction, that isn’t likely to happen anytime soon.

At this point, the idea is just not a good one.

It’s fun to think of the possibilities, after the civic election last November that saw a referendum on an amalgamation study in all three communities pass easily. Yet, that was for only a study, not a change in actual infrastructure.

As North Saanich Mayor Alice Finall points out, a study will only get the amalgamation issue back on the table some time within this four-year term of council. An actual vote on amalgamating municipalities, she says, is probably not in the cards until after this term, with no real action, perhaps, until another four years have passed. Meanwhile, North Saanich’s district office continues to rot.

Looking for ways to save through sharing of services is one thing, but the politicians on the Peninsula are just not ready to deal with amalgamating municipal halls.