Saanich wants province to investigate term limits

Saanich wants province to investigate term limits

Saanich will ask the province and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) to investigate term limits.

“Let’s have that discussion,” said Coun. Karen Harper. “Let’s see where it goes.”

She made that comment as council meeting as committee-of-the-whole debated 30 recommendations that emerged from the review of a report into ways to improve internal governance, community engagement, and external governance prepared by the Governance Review Citizen Advisory Committee (GRCAC).

“Term limits would resolve concerns we heard that councillors go past their ‘best before’ date, would permit fresh ideas and perspectives more frequently, and prevent what amounts to career politicians in Saanich,” read GRCAC’s final report, which acknowledged that the province would have to institute such a change.

Council received this recommendation in October, and forwarded it to a standing committee consisting of Mayor Richard Atwell as chair, as well as Couns. Judy Brownoff, Karen Harper, Fred Haynes, and Susan Brice. They punted the question back to council’s committee-of-the-whole, whose members voted 8-1 with Coun. Leif Wergeland opposed to send the issue to Victoria and UBCM, the lobby organization representing municipalities in British Columbia.

The motion does not endorse a specific position, a selling point for many supporters. Coun. Dean Murdock said he is not sure whether he opposes or supports term limits. But it would be a “fascinating discussion” to hear UBCM delegates, some with more experience, others with less experience, debate the question, he said.

Coun. Fred Haynes agreed.

Haynes said term limits can serve as a “tool” to revitalize public engagement. On the other hand, term limits can also be limiting, noting that it takes time to acquire experience and become familiar with issues, he said .

Mayor Richard Atwell — who has previously spoken in favour of term limits and tabled the motion — said it is important for Saanich to follow upon on the recommendation of GRCAC. “The sticky point for me is the number of terms,” he said. GRCAC’s final report called for a limit of two terms for members of council.

Council members considered the question of term limits during the early phase of their deliberations on their way to dealing with other procedural and institutional issues, including the issue of amalgamation and regional policing.

Council’s committee-of-the-whole made these decision after reviewing the findings of a council committee that had reviewed the findings of a report from the Governance Review Citizen Advisory Committee (GRCAC). It launched GRCAC after almost out of nine out of 10 Saanich voters supported a “community-based review of the governance structure and policies within Saanich and its partnerships within the Region” during the municipal election of November 2014 against the background of amalgamation, the proposed merger of communities in the Greater Victoria to cut governance costs and improve effectiveness.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Esquimalt High School is one of six Greater Victoria schools that reported a COVID-19 exposure over the weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
Six new Greater Victoria school exposures reported over weekend

Steady rise in school exposures since return from spring break

The District of North Saanich has issued a notice to remove this floating structure from the waters off Lillan Hoffar Park. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Boat owner ordered to vacate waters off North Saanich park

Couple have been living in floating structure off Lillian Hoffar Park for a number of years

Paramedic Matthew Schlatter of Victoria is living a fuller life today due to the double lung transplant he received in 2019. He encourages B.C. residents to register as an organ donor and let their families know their wishes. (Instagram/Matthew Schlatter)
Victoria man living a full, active life after double lung transplant

Matt Schlatter encourages people to register as an organ donor to help others live

Passengers in rows four to 10 onboard WestJet flight 449 from Calgary to Victoria April 6 were exposed to a case of COVID-19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Flight from Calgary to Victoria added to COVID-19 exposure list

Passengers onboard WestJet flight 449 April 6 affected

Victoria Police’s Explosive Disposal Unit came to Oak Bay April 10 to destroy a potentially dangrous explosive device that washed up on shore. (Oak Bay RCMP photo)
Washed-up explosive device destroyed by VicPD bomb squad

An Oak Bay resident called in the potentially dangerous debris

People take part in an anti-curfew protest in Montreal on Sunday April 11, 2021. Hundreds of people gathered in Old Montreal tonight in defiance of a new 8 p.m. curfew. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giuseppe Valiante
VIDEO: Hundreds defy Montreal’s 8 p.m. curfew in violent, destructive protest

Quebec reported 1,535 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as well as five additional deaths linked to the virus

Organ donation form from BC Transplant. (BC Transplant)
POLL: Have you registered as an organ donor?

They number 1.5 million strong and growing. But their numbers still fall… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 6

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

Most Read