Three Greater Victoria municipalities will receive festive candy canes in recognition of their efforts to improve local governance – and thanks to budget constraints, they will have the traditional peppermint flavour, rather than the more adventurous hot dog, kale or sardine flavoured treats originally planned for.
The candy cane awards are an annual tradition bestowed on public entities by citizens advocacy group Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria. This year’s recipients, The City of Langford, Town of View Royal and District of Oak Bay, will each be getting a box of 40 mini candy canes “that were found in a bargain bin in January 2021,” the Grumpy Taxpayers stated in a news release.
The only reason the municipalities won’t be receiving less traditional flavours was the discovery they would cost US$6.50 each to purchase and ship from Seattle, Wash., compared to the C $2.45 total for the bargain bin find, continuing the award’s tradition of being as frugal as possible.
While the prize itself may be a bit tongue-in-cheek, the reasons each recipient is deserving of them are far more grounded in reality.
Langford earned the top prize this year for acting on the community’s wishes in March to livestream and archive all of its council and committee meetings online.
“We are pleased that Langford is moving toward a more open and transparent governance model,” organization chair John Treleaven said in the release. “Residents want to be involved and engaged in local government and livestreaming facilitates that goal.”
View Royal earned the second place award for crafting a code of conduct for council. The code provides important guidance for local politicians, and some recourse for taxpayers to curb “misbehaviour,” rather than simply being “left to steam” until the next election, Treleaven said.
Earning the third prize this year, Oak Bay was recognized for its efforts to meet the challenge of the municipality’s roughly $275-million infrastructure deficit head-on.
“After several councils kicked the can down the road and failed to adequately maintain roads, sewers and sidewalks, this council has picked up the can and continues to deal with the issue,” Treleaven said.