The District of Saanich and the City of Victoria Councils will be asking electors if they wish to establish a Citizens’ Assembly to explore the costs, benefits and disadvantages of amalgamation between the two municipalities. This non-binding community opinion question will be asked at the upcoming General Local Election being held on October 20, 2018.
Ballot question approved by Council:
“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?”
What is a Citizens’ Assembly and what will it look like?
The Citizens’ Assembly will be a group of residents randomly selected from both the District of Saanich and the City of Victoria that will provide residents with an opportunity to evaluate the case for or against amalgamating the District of Saanich and the City of Victoria. The Assembly will be an arms-length group that will be commissioned by the newly elected Councils of both municipalities.
The scope of the Citizens' Assembly mandate has not yet been defined and would not be established until the District of Saanich has heard from its electors. The community opinion question on the ballot of the upcoming General Local Election will give Council an indication of the community’s interest in pursuing the establishment of a Citizens’ Assembly. This is your chance to provide your opinion on the path the District of Saanich should take.
What is the cost of the Citizens’ Assembly?
Early costs are being forecasted at approximately $750,000 in total for a Citizens’ Assembly. The District of Saanich would be responsible for one third (1/3) of the costs; up to $250,000. The Province of British Columbia is being asked to pay for one third (1/3) of the costs with the City of Victoria also seeking a commitment from their electors for up to $250,000.
No money will be spent on the establishment of a Citizens’ Assembly until the District of Saanich Council has heard from the voters.