Mike Hicks

CRD electoral areas join talks on integrating municipal services

“I think we can contribute and will contribute as much as any municipality,” says Mike Hicks

A group spearheading a study on integrating municipal services and governance in Greater Victoria will have full talks with Capital Regional District electoral areas at the urging of Juan de Fuca director Mike Hicks.

The study group, led by former B.C. Liberal cabinet minister George Abbott and deputy minister Dale Wall, planned to work with the 13 municipal governments in the capital region on “exploring ways to integrate services and governance,” the province said in a statement.

Hicks showed displeasure with that after learning the three electoral areas – Juan de Fuca, Southern Gulf Islands and Salt Spring Island – would be left out of the process.

“I think we can contribute and will contribute as much as any municipality,” Hicks said at a recent CRD meeting.

“It’s just a bubbling frustration of lack of recognition from the provincial government concerning the three electoral areas [in the CRD].”

That was never the intention, Wall said.

“In our mind, it was a sense that the interest of the electoral area directors would be presented to us at the time of the board meeting. It was clear at the board meeting that the directors wanted a one-on-one conversation.”

So far, the committee has met with directors in the Souther Gulf Islands and Salt Spring Island. Hicks and his advisory board meet with the group on Aug. 4.

The consultants will identify the integrated services that already exist, suggest what else could be done, and chart a potential path forward – but not amalgamation.

The group is expected to release its interim report in late September, followed by another round of discussions in October, with a final report due in November.