Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes has signalled that he wants to pull back on amalgamation work. (Black Press file photo)

COVID-19 should not ‘thwart’ review of governance, says Amalgamation Yes

Amalgamation Yes group calls Saanich mayor’s report ‘sudden and unexpected’

A grassroots citizens’ organization pushing for amalgamation in the region calls a report calling for the termination of a study on amalgamation of Saanich and Victoria “sudden and unexpected.”

Amalgamation Yes has been advocating for a municipal amalgamation study since at least 2014 when the group pushed for a referendum on the matter. The group says it challenges “any efforts by political opponents of studying amalgamation to use the virus to thwart any serious review of governance.”

The statement comes after Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes announced a request that council halt the Citizen’s Assembly and study indefinitely due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

RELATED: COVID-19: Saanich council to consider closing the door on amalgamation with Victoria

In his report, which comes to council April 20, Haynes asks Saanich to write a letter informing the province and the City of Victoria of the District’s decision to cease all actions on the assembly “until further notice” and reallocate the budget.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps responded during a daily briefing April 16, saying the news was surprising and left her feeling the “rug had been pulled out from under her.”

Amalgamation Yes says there is no reason why the Citizen’s Assembly process couldn’t proceed with work such as sending a report to the province for funding, drafting committees and preparing a plan for selection and evaluation of Citizen’s Assembly respondents.

RELATED: Amalgamation: Helps feels like ‘rug pulled out from under her’ after Saanich mayor’s report

–With files from Devon Bidal.

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