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Saanich Peninsula accessibility advisory committee amends terms for greater diversity

Terms of reference double citizens’ representatives to six among other changes
A new tri-municipal committee on the Saanich Peninsula will have six citizen representatives. (Black Press Media file photo)

A new tri-municipal committee seeking to improve the day-to-day lives of individuals with various disabilities on the Saanich Peninsula is expanding the number of citizen representatives.

Saanich Peninsula Accessibility Advisory Committee is doubling the number of citizen appointees to six in amending its terms of reference. The move promises to better represent the wide range of disabilities in the community such as mobility, hearing, visual, and cognitive, as well as different demographic groups, said a release from the Town of Sidney.

Central Saanich, North Saanich and Sidney jointly established the committee earlier this spring and Coun. Terri O’Keeffe, Sidney’s representative, said in a written report to council that the committee had received nine applications for the citizens’ positions. In reviewing candidates, the member selection committee aimed to have at least one representative from each municipality as well as ensure representation of a broad range.

RELATED: Central Saanich, North Saanich and Sidney look to build more inclusive communities

“During the interview process, it became apparent that it is not possible to achieve the desired broad representation with only three citizen members,” she said.

The provincial government also passed a regulation under the Accessibility B.C. Act in April requiring municipalities to have accessibility committees in place by Sept. 1, 2023. “The legislation requires that at least half of the committee members be persons with disabilities or individuals who support them,” she said.

The local committee’s terms of reference also call for one member from the Panorama Recreation Centre and one representative from the SHOAL Centre.

The original terms of reference also said the WSANEC leadership council would be represented with one seat. O’Keeffe said the council declined this seat but suggested the committee approach local First Nations directly. Accordingly, the amended terms of reference extend an invitation to the four local First Nations.

Sidney council approved the proposed changes unanimously.

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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