Victoria City Council amalgamation
Victoria City Hall - File Photo

Does Saantoria have a nice ring to it? What about Vicnich?

We’re kidding about the name change, of course, but Saanich and Victoria could soon become one municipality.

The neighbouring city councils are set to hold a joint committee meeting to craft a question on amalgamation.

That question will then be put on ballots for the Oct. 20 municipal elections.

Amalgamation Timeline:

The process began on January 8, 2018, when Saanich Council passed the following motion:

“That Council call on the Province of British Columbia to establish and fund a Citizens’ Assembly on amalgamation with interested municipalities.”

On January 11, Victoria Council reciprocated and passed the same motion.

On April 11, a meeting took place with Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing staff, who gave the following advice:

  • The process from start to finish must be thorough and objective
  • Public engagement is key
  • It is the role of local government in partnership and with reliance on experienced consultants to design, host and steward the process
  • An independent technical analysis should be performed in tandem to analyze the costs and benefits

At the Committee of the Whole of April 26, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell introduced a motion that Saanich and Victoria hold a joint Committee of the Whole meeting to determine which question both local governments will place on the October 20, 2018 municipal election ballot.

That motion passed, and so here we are.

Potential Next Steps:

According to the motion, the next steps that will “likely” be taken are:

  • To ensure there is a mandate from our citizens to undertake this work, develop a clear, concise and identical question to be placed on the October 20, 2018 municipal election ballot in Saanich and Victoria.
  • Develop and disseminate educational information in advance of the October 20, 2018 vote to enable electors to cast an informed vote.
Post-Election
  • If a majority of the referendum ballot votes cast in both municipalities support moving forward, establish a joint steering committee comprised of elected officials and senior staff from both local governments.
  • Develop a clear proposal outlining a citizen-led process and budget with terms of reference for studying the costs and benefits of amalgamation with the aim of asking the Province to co-fund the study with Saanich and Victoria.

What are your thoughts about the potential amalgamation? Would you like to see two become one? Or should Saanich and Victoria remain separate?

Let us know in the comments!

 

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