Saanich has signalled Victoria that it wants to proceed with caution during the next phase of the process that could eventually climax in the municipality’s amalgamation with the City of Victoria (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Saanich signals Victoria it wants to proceed with caution during assembly process

Saanich council signs off on terms of reference for future citizens’ assembly

Saanich councillors have signalled to their counterparts in Victoria that they want to proceed with caution during the next phase of the process that could eventually climax in the municipality’s amalgamation with the City of Victoria.

Saanich council (with Coun. Colin Plant absent) unanimously approved a motion that limits the negotiation power of municipal representatives during upcoming talks with their counterparts from the City of Victoria over the final shape of the future citizens’ assembly tasked to “explore the costs, benefits and disadvantages” of amalgamation.

“I don’t think it should be on their shoulders to have to negotiate away positions, which have been taken firmly here at this table,” said Coun. Susan Brice, who proposed the motion.

It calls on the four members of Saanich’s standing committee on the citizens’ assembly to bring back “any issues of disagreement, so Saanich council can deliberate” if “serious discussions” with Victoria failed to reach agreement.

RELATED: Saanich and Victoria disagree over size of assembly studying amalgamation

“I say that with all respect for those who will go down, and I think that to some extent, may give some comfort to those who have to do this work on our behalf, but there are a couple of issues that really were very firmly held by this council,” said Brice.

Councillors passed that motion after they had unanimously approved Saanich’s proposed terms of reference for the citizens’ assembly following some minor revisions and asked the four members of the citizens’ assembly standing committee to meet with their Victoria counterparts to “finalize” a joint draft terms of reference for “consideration by the respective [councils].”

The committee itself consists of Mayor Fred Haynes as chair, Coun. Judy Brownoff, Plant, and Coun. Rebecca Mersereau.

Brice’s motion earned explicit support from both Haynes and Brownoff, whose comments also pointed towards the issues, likely requiring the support of full council.

They include the size of the assembly (Saanich proposes an assembly of 100 members, while Victoria’s terms of reference calls for an assembly of 49 members), and the question of whether the assembly’s final report should include a final ‘Yes/No’ recommendation to the respective councils on “proceeding” towards a referendum. Saanich council struck this requirement from its proposed terms of references, while Victoria’s terms of reference have retained it.

“We have flexibility, but there are some key things,” said Brownoff in support of the motion. Coun. Karen Harper agreed. “I don’t consider every sentence [of the terms] to be sacrosant, [but] there is a difference between a position and the language around the position,” she said.

Perhaps the only form of criticism of this limitation came from Mersereau. “The possible outcome of this [limitation] is coming back here [to the full council] fairly quickly,” she said, conceding that final terms of reference will be before council anyway at a later date.

While Haynes acknowledged that this limitation might require an additional meeting of the committee with its Victoria counterparts, the magnitude of the situation requires the full input of council. Saanich residents expect council to proceed with care and due diligence, he said earlier.

He echoed this broader point in comments to Saanich News after the meeting.

“Last night, council worked to ensure that our terms of reference for the citizens’ assembly discussion in the joint Victoria-Saanich group respected the ballot question,” he said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Alberni student tells B.C. Supreme Court she wasn’t allowed to leave indigenous smudging ceremony

Girl cross-examined Monday in Nanaimo courtroom, case continues Tuesday

Saanich’s 20-year-old acting mayor encourages other young people get involved in politics

There is a ‘hunger for young voices’ in politics right now

Saanich School District parents welcome end of strike

Various sides of support worker strike acknowledge remaining tensions

COLUMN: There is good out there, you just have to look

The news can make us pessimistic and jaded, but good people and good stories are out there

Cold, stormy winter forecast across much of Canada, The Weather Network predicts

In British Columbia temperatures will be slightly above normal and precipitation will be just below normal

Harbour authority to honour Victoria sailor Jeanne Socrates with naming ceremony

In September Socrates became the oldest person to sail around the world in a solo, unassisted trip

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

Trans Mountain received $320M in government subsidies in first half 2019: report

The money included $135.8 million in direct subsidies and $183.8 million in indirect subsidies

Ottawa urges CN and union to continue talks as 3,200 workers go on strike

The rail workers began their strike after failing to reach a deal by a midnight deadline

Nineteen boats carrying invasive mussels stopped at B.C. borders

Waters of Columbia-Shuswap still test mussel-free

Saanich resident calling for gas powered leaf blower ban finds support as autumn leaves fall

‘Cities don’t need to be noisy and happiness and wellbeing should be a priority,’ says the resident

Escaped Metchosin inmate sentenced to additional year tacked on to 14-year sentence

Man escaped from William Head Institution arrested days late in Esquimalt

Most Read