Before people take a stand on amalgamation they should inform themselves. I was surprised by statisics from the CRD website.
Sidney’s population is approximately 11,551 in 2012, living on 7.143 sq. km.
North Saanich is approximately 11,439 on 4,015 hectares.
Central Saanich is approximately 16,465 on 41.42 sq. km.
On Sidney’s website, agriculture is grouped in their statisics under food and beverage. Emphasis is on businesses, housing, tourism and industry.
North Saanich is proud of its agricultural base and has a definite ‘residential estate’ profile.
Central Saanich separated from the other Saaniches over the agricultural issue decades ago. It has the most ALR land but has an astounding population. Residential growth statistics vary by source and years considered but Central Saanich is still the largest, fastest growing Penisula population.
Apparently excluded in amalgamation would be 3,051 residents on First Nation Reserves.
My take on this?
Combine the high density town dwelling voters of Sidney with the new Central Saanich residents acquired through the densification policies in Central Saanich.
Your core of voters will have housing, amenities and businesses on their minds, not agriculture. They love the greenspace and boutique farms but will vote for convenience and housing for their children and parents.
Growth means more customers for their new businesses. North Saanich and Central Saanich farmers combined may have the acres but not the numbers or support to control growth and protect the ALR.
Perhaps farmers need a vote based on acreage in the ALR actively, productively farmed?
The idea of amalgamation reminds me of marrying because two can live cheaper than one.
Then along come the children with a family’s growing needs. The budget flies out the window.
Lets have a professional analysis of the statistics. I would love to be proved wrong.