Skip to content

LETTER: Saanich’s list of excuses continues to grow for lack of Vote Dashboard

The April 24 Saanich council meeting was the most Kafkaesque I’ve ever witnessed.

The April 24 Saanich council meeting was the most Kafkaesque I’ve ever witnessed.

I know it’s a fierce competition. This one though takes the cake: A Saanich staff report proposed “to approve a one-time budget increase for Fire Station No. 2 redevelopment from $26,590,000 to $44,628,854.” A senior staff member suggested $6 million be potentially earmarked toward it from the province’s Growing Communities Fund.

Among key reasons provided by a senior staffer that night for the massive cost escalation was the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. A growing population was another reason provided during the proceedings.

Then on the same night, senior levels of staff said that staff didn’t have enough resources to make an Excel document. Yes, an Excel document! Such a document (and the material is all there for it), would have allowed a Vote Dashboard to be created practically instantaneously.

Instead, a dashboard was said to have been too technically complicated at present to create and even a supposed need for AI was suggested as an obstacle to its timely completion.

Two years have passed without a Vote Dashboard being made that would have allowed the public to see their elected officials’ vote records on a chart. Although supposedly the process, which is never finished has been ongoing during that time. Another six months to a year for reports and timelines toward the process instead were bandied about during the discussions.

This is like a parody of a parody for slow-motion bureaucracy.

Occam’s Razor: Quit making excuses and just make the Excel sheet already!

If the problem is genuinely a lack of resources for staff to make an Excel document, then council could quickly allocate that, given that it seemed to have no problem with an approximately $18 million budget increase the same night.

Why is it that transparency always seems to come last, rather than first? A democracy meaning ‘rule of the people’ requires it. Oligarchies meaning ‘rule by the few’ fear it.

Sasha Izard