Saanich approves joint terms of reference for citizens’ assembly

January 29, 2020

News release

For immediate release

Saanich approves joint terms of reference for citizens’ assembly

Saanich, BC – At its meeting last night, the District ofSaanich Council approved joint terms of reference, agreed upon with the City of Victoria Council, to form a citizens’ assembly to explore the costs, benefits and disadvantages of amalgamation.

The joint terms of reference outlines the governance structure and mandate of the citizens’ assembly, including the process and expectations for a variety of potential outcomes. The two councils and their standing committees spent almost a year working on the terms of reference.

“The two councils have worked rigorously to come up with a joint terms of reference as requested by the province,” said Mayor Fred Haynes. “As the elected leaders of Saanich, the job of Mayor and Council is to look after the best interests of our community and our residents. A decision of this magnitude must be well-considered and not rushed.”

For next steps, Saanich and Victoria will present the joint terms of reference to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing with a request for funding of up to $250,000 toward the creation of the citizens’ assembly. Funding from the province represents one-third of the cost with each municipality also contributing up to $250,000. Municipal staff time to gather and compile information for the citizens’ assembly is in addition to the cost.

The province has not confirmed their timeline to review the joint terms of reference and the request for funding. After receiving a decision from the province, Saanich and Victoria councils will work together to issue a request for proposals for a consultant who will provide a technical analysis of both municipalities to help inform the work of the citizens’ assembly.

“The work of the citizens’ assembly needs to be free of interference by elected officials and lobbyist group,” said Mayor Haynes. “It’s important that the recommendations they will provide will be based on facts rather than emotions.”

Following a thorough review, the citizens’ assembly will present non-binding recommendations to the two councils to consider. Recommendations may include a variety of options from efficiencies and mutual agreements or a recommendation to amalgamate.

The 2018 general local election included a non-binding community opinion question on the ballot about establishing a citizens’ assembly to explore amalgamation between the two municipalities.


Media contact:
Megan Catalano
Communications Manager