At one time municipal council was the most approachable and democratic of our levels of government. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case in Central Saanich.
Once most letters written to council were heard early in the agenda, and the letter writer could speak to the points in their letter. Slowly this right has been removed, first by not including it in the agenda if they had heard the concern before; then to move it to the end of the meeting when few were left in the gallery to hear the concerns. This was followed by not allowing the citizen to speak to the item but at least it was in the full agenda package for people to read if they wished.
The last could be called the good old days of democracy in the Central Saanich. Now when one writes a letter such as expressing a safety concern it gets shunted aside by staff or the mayor to a pile that might be read by the councillors. In the past, if one noted a serious safety concern that could result in the loss of life, one could raise the issue in an open council meeting. When the letter was in an open council meeting it was public notice to the council of an issue and allowed others with similar concerns to see they were not alone and if necessary could coalesce into a group to resolve the issue. The current silo isolation of residents means we do not know how many others have similar issues.
I have regularly expressed safety concerns on an issue only to be ignored; and looking at documents I have been able to obtain insulted and derided by staff internally. I now know another resident has similar concerns for his area of the municipality.
Isolating us and treating us as political opposition for expressing concerns or trying to discuss them violates the basic principles of democracy at the municipal level.