Amalgamation study should outline implementation plan, says mayor

The City of Victoria is sending a letter to the province requesting a study on amalgamation for Greater Victoria.

A province-led amalgamation study should also outline plans of actions for the different options for Greater Victoria, says Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

“To me that’s the point of the study,” said Helps. “Don’t just give us options, but also for each option, some kind of implementation plan so that as municipal leaders, we have some firm direction coming out of this study.”

Council decided last week to send a letter to Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Coralee Oakes requesting a study regarding amalgamation in Greater Victoria.

“By the 2018 election, we would like to put some kind of question back to our residents to say here are the options the province has come up with through the study, ‘what do you think’, in a binding kind of way.”

Study results and implementation plans are of no use unless the municipalities work together, said Helps.

“It’s irrelevant if Victoria does that by itself. We need to be coordinated.”

Helps plans to write to other mayors in the region informing them about the city’s letter to the province.

“I want to see all the municipalities working together with the province to find the best possible way forward for regional governance.”

She added it is too early to say if that will mean one municipality or more.

Coun. Jeremy Loveday said by sending this letter, it affirms council’s intention to act on the wishes of the majority of the community that voted in favour of a study on amalgamation.

While a study will bring forward important information, Coun. Geoff Young said residents should not expect it to have definitive results.

“I don’t think we’ll get a clear answer in economic terms. There’ll be decisions that are made after amalgamation that may be different from what people predict,” said Young. “I would say to people, think about it in terms of your common sense.”