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Saanich, Victoria amalgamation back on the docket

Citizens’ assembly not likely before October municipal elections
Discussions around the amalgamation of Victoria and Saanich are back on the table now that in-person gatherings can continue. (Black Press Media file photo)

An investigation into the potential amalgamation between the City of Victoria and the District of Saanich has received a funding boost as branches of government look forward to hosting a citizens’ assembly.

In a Wednesday (March 23) joint statement, 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.

Now that large gatherings can take place in person again, plans are moving forward to address the issue in a public forum setting, otherwise known as a citizens’ assembly.

“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 statement acknowledged an awareness of the strong opinions regarding amalgamation and noted residents will have an opportunity to provide input.

“Given the upcoming general local elections in October and our shared commitment to a thorough and well-run process for considering this issue, we anticipate the launch of the citizens’ assembly will occur after the general local elections.”

ALSO READ: Saanich council opts to wait until amalgamation study can take place safely in-person

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