Amalgamation – nope

North Saanich council won’t ask residents for their opinion on amalgamation

Should North Saanich residents give council direction on the issue of amalgamation in the Greater Victoria area?

The answer to that is ambiguous at best after council discussed it and voted only to receive a letter from Amalgamation Yes — effectively shelving it. Some councillors, however, remain open to hearing from residents on the amalgamation question.

The Capital Region Municipal Amalgamation Society (aka Amalgamation Yes) is asking municipalities to consider a non-binding referendum question during the next local election, asking voters if they favour “reducing the number of municipalities in the Capital Region through amalgamation.” Representatives from the society met with local councils at the recent tri-municipal meeting in Central Saanich, asking the same thing.

North Saanich Mayor Alice Finall has stated she has heard no desire for amalgamation from local voters. The issue was headed for the shelf at the Monday, Nov. 18 meeting of council but Councillor Ted Daly began thinking out loud.

“Don’t we owe the residents the chance to say ‘no we don’t want to amalgamate with anyone’?” he said. “This isn’t about being for or against it, I just want to give residents the opportunity for input.”

Daly repeatedly said he’s not in favour of amalgamation, noting he took his lumps over that issue in the 2010 election.

He agrees that even talking about getting a mandate from the electorate on the issue could be seen by opponents of amalgamation as opening a door.

“I’m not necessarily in favour of amalgamation,” he continued. “I just want to see what residents think about the issue and getting a direction from residents on how to proceed.”

Daly suggested using the district’s newsletter and website to solicit opinions. He found some support among the rest of council. Coun. Celia Stock said since it is a current issue in the region, it might be a good idea to talk about it.

“You can’t really move forward with it in your mandate without it coming forward from the residents,” she said, suggesting that council discuss how to get that feedback at its Nov. 28 strategy meeting.

While not coming out for or against amalgamation, councillors Conny McBride, Craig Mearns and Dunstan Browne also indicated it would be good to get direction.

Finall, however, said she has not seen any support for amalgamation in North Saanich from any resident in her 11 years on council.

She said the idea that amalgamation will save money and create efficiencies in local government is a misnomer — pointing to examples in Halifax and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

“I’m not hearing North Saanich residents talking about wanting to amalgamate with anyone,” added Coun. Elsie McMurphy. “Just putting a question on the ballot would be quite challenging.”

Council voted 6-1 (Browne opposed) to receive the Amalgamation Yes letter and rejected the idea of directly asking residents about the issue.

 

Just Posted

BC Boat Show sails back to Sidney

Port Sidney Marina hosting event May 3 to 6

UPDATE: Driver escapes from crash in Sidney

Town truck and another vehicle collide, causing van to roll over

GALLERY: Storm causes damage along the waterfront in Greater Victoria

Municipal crews are cleaning up Monday following Sunday’s high wind and waves

Woodwynn Farms to be shut down and sold

The rehabilitation program at Woodwynn Farms is being shut down. According to… Continue reading

UPDATE: Tsunami warning ended for Greater Victoria

Homes in Colwood near Esquimalt Lagoon were evacuated after tsunami warning for coastal areas of B.C. after 7.9 earthquake off Alaskan coast

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

Butchart Gardens is hiring now and paying more

Wages start at $15, job fair Feb. 20

Man faces 48 charges in string of random Toronto shootings

The string of unprovoked shootings began Jan.9, say police

Cash still needed for Stelly’s Cross Path

MLA Olsen wants more specifics first

‘Shape of Water’ producer, Christopher Plummer among Canadian Oscar nominees

Guillermo del Toro film about merman romance earns 13 nominations

Canada, TPP agrees to revised deal without the United States

Canada and the remaining members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership have agreed to a revised trade agreement

Tsunami warnings 101: Canada

Here are some things to know about tsunami alerts in Canada and how they work

Rogers Media cuts ties with Vice Canada

Rogers Media and Vice Canada are ending their three-year-old partnership, pulling Viceland TV channel off the air

Tsunami warning prompts evacuations in Port Alberni

Alaska earthquake prompted warning for coastal BC

Most Read