Victoria votes to move ahead with amalgamation

Seven out of eight municipalities in Greater Victoria with amalgamation questions on the ballot voted in favour.

All but one of the municipalities in Greater Victoria with amalgamation questions on Saturday’s ballot voted in favour, including Victoria and Esquimalt. The provincial government has also taken interest.

“There is always value in dialogue about whether current governance structures are meeting local community needs,” said Community, Sports and Cultural Development Minister Coralee Oakes. “I remain committed to provide the support and resources required by the newly-elected local governments.”

Victoria Mayor-elect Lisa Helps said the next step is for the seven mayors whose municipalities voted in favour of some sort of amalgamation to sit down together and have a conversation, and to also meet with Minister Oakes. Helps said residents can expect this kind of action within the first few months of the term.

“We asked the question in order to get input, and now our job is to respond to that input and take action,” said Helps, adding she hopes the municipalities are able to work together on the issue.

“We want to make sure if we’re moving toward closer regional cooperation, we can do it in a cooperative manner,” said Helps. “I feel really optimistic about that given the folks that have been elected around the region.”

Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins said the next step will be starting a conversation with the community as well as other leaders in the region.

“What we’ve heard is clearly there needs to be more dialogue,” said Desjardins. “I think it’s important to have a better understanding of what options and what steps there could be going forward.”

She added any advancement could not happen without knowing what the rest of the region will do, and how they will do it.

“The difficulty is that we have some communities that asked a question, and some that didn’t,” said Desjardins. “We clearly have one community (Oak Bay) that has said no, and so in order for something to go forward, what will it take?”

Desjardins said she does not see any binding decisions being made anytime soon, because of all that is involved in decision-making and planning.

“There’s a lot of work to be done, and much more education and understanding of what amalgamation could look like, because everybody I talked to certainly had different ideas of what that meant.”

From Esquimalt’s two amalgamation questions, Desjardins said she does not think citizens are fully supportive of the township losing its identity.

“What I heard is the region needs to come together better, and how do we do that in terms of shared services, in terms of some changes in governance. I think there’s more support with some kind of study than there is jumping to any next step.”

Desjardins said it is unlikely that plans regarding amalgamation will take place at the council table before January, but discussion could start in December.

 

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

Just Posted

BC Housing ensures that by March 31, shelter will be available to all people living outside. (Black Press Media file photo)
All unhoused Victoria residents will be offered shelter by March 31, says BC Housing

BC Housing working to secure shelter locations in coming weeks

Robert Schram, here seen in January 2016, died Saturday, according to a friend. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sidney, Saanich Peninsula mourn the death of Mr. Beads

Bead artist Robert Schram was a familiar, well-loved figure in Sidney and beyond

Saanich Coun. Susan Brice and Mayor Fred Haynes are calling on the province to develop new solutions for emergency response to mental health crises with the consideration of a potential new 911 category. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Saanich mayor, councillor call for new solutions to mental health emergencies

Shifting response from police to trained mental health team the best option, mayor says

A COVID-19 vaccination clinic, operated by Island Health, has opened at the University of Victoria’s McKinnon Gym. (Photo courtesy of UVic)
COVID-19 vaccination clinic opens at University of Victoria

Clinic is staffed and operated by Island Health

Aerial view of the Capital Regional District residuals treatment facility at Hartland Landfill where residual solids are turned into Class A biosolids. (Photo courtesy CRD)
Plant closure sends more biosolids to Hartland Landfill

Saanich residents are concerned they were never consulted

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Left: Oakland County Jail. Right: Canuck Todd Bertuzzi on November 2, 2005. (CP/Chuck Stoody)
Former Vancouver Canuck Todd Bertuzzi arrested for suspected DUI: report

The Canadian winger had a complicated history in the NHL

The south coast of B.C. as capture by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission. (European Space Agency)
VIDEO: Images of B.C.’s south coast from space released by European Space Agency

The satellite images focus on a variety of the region’s landmarks

A copy of the book “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” by Dr. Seuss, rests in a chair, Monday, March 1, 2021, in Walpole, Mass. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the business that preserves and protects the author and illustrator’s legacy, announced on his birthday, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, that it would cease publication of several children’s titles including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo,” because of insensitive and racist imagery. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
6 Dr. Seuss books won’t be published for racist images

Books affected include McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat’s Quizzer

The fundraising effort to purchase 40 hectares west of Cottonwood Lake announced its success this week. Photo: Submitted
Nelson society raises $400K to save regional park from logging project

The Nelson community group has raised $400,000 to purchase 40 hectares of forest

AstraZeneca’s vaccine ready for use at the vaccination centre in Apolda, Germany, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Reichel/dpa via AP
National panel advises against using Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on seniors

NACI panel said vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are preferred for seniors ‘due to suggested superior efficacy’

A public health order has extended the types of health care professionals who can give the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy of CHI Franciscan)
‘It’s great that midwives are included’ in rollout of B.C.’s COVID vaccine plan, says college

The order will help the province staff the mass vaccination clinics planned for April

Shipping containers are seen at the Fairview Cove Container Terminal in Halifax on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Canadian economy contracted 5.4 per cent in 2020, worst year on record

Drop was largely due to shutdowns in the spring as COVID began to spread

Most Read