It’s been talked about and talked about for years. And now a new group is being formed to renew debate on the amalgamation of Saanich and Victoria.
A statement released Wednesday (March 23) by B.C. Minister of Municipal Affairs Nathan Cullen, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes said they are committed to exploring citizen views on combining the City of Victoria and the District of Saanich.
“We have all agreed to each contribute $250,000, for a total of $750,000, toward the cost of a citizens’ assembly and to explore the possible outcomes, costs, benefits and disadvantages of amalgamation so that residents have a more complete understanding of what amalgamation may involve,” the release stated.
The citizens’ assembly is expected to be launched after October’s municipal elections.
New population figures estimate Greater Victoria’s population at 408,883 as of July 1, 2020. That population is divided into 13 municipalities, ranging in size from Saanich, with an estimated population of 124,639, to Highlands, with an estimated population of 2,582.
Voters in Saanich and Victoria elected to move ahead with exploring amalgamation back in October 2018. Voters in Victoria voted 66.47 per cent in favour of the non-binding question: “Are you in favour of spending up to $250,000 for establishing a Citizens’ Assembly to explore the costs, benefits, and disadvantages of the amalgamation between the District of Saanich and the City of Victoria?” The question drew 56 per cent support among Saanich residents.
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