The City of Victoria supports the idea of allowing an independent citizen’s assembly to determine options for amalgamation of the City and the District of Saanich. One reader says it’s critical to keep govenment intervention from spoiling the process. News file photo

Victoria mayor sees larger domain through potential merger, reader writes

Citizen’s assemblies need a chance to operate free from government intervention

Citizen’s assemblies deserve a chance (Mayor’s Message, May 4)

In 2014 municipal voters said yes to the ballot-box question: Are you in favour of reducing the number of municipalities in Greater Victoria through amalgamation? But this is no guarantee they’ll now see merit in the City and District of Saanich getting hitched.

Frankly, judging from strong negative feedback regarding the approval of controversial development projects, citizen trust level in local elected officials has worn thin. Many suggest that the public engagement decision-making process is deeply flawed.

What’s at stake? The credibility of the political decision-making process. Judging from the shifting city skyline, the process is stacked in favour of deep pockets and large lobby groups – including property investors, real estate developers and building contractors.

Is governing Victoria enough for Mayor Lisa Helps? Apparently not. Now she deserves a chance to rule a larger domain, provided citizens approve the proposed Victoria-Saanich merger, if it gets to that point.

Citizen’s assemblies demonstrate effectiveness in solving a variety of complex social and economic issues. But this happens only when they’re not manipulated by government to satisfy a predetermined outcome.

Years ago, I asked City Hall to consider using the citizen’s assembly model in land-use planning and development – particularly the articulation of Victoria’s 13 neighbourhood plans. This had been carried out successfully in the development of the Granville-Woodlands Community Plan (2015) in Vancouver.

The mayor’s answer? No thanks, we prefer you join the conversation as we plan the future of your neighbourhood.

Citizens participate in the mayor’s rich, deliberative and thoughtful democratic decision-making process only when openness, transparency and accountability form the foundation of public engagement. This, when all voices are welcome.

Anything less is a ruse to justify what can’t be justified.

Victoria Adams

Victoria

Just Posted

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Susan Simmons begins a 24-hour swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

The MS Athlete and ultra-marathon swimmer wants to be the first person to make the journey

New Victoria mayoral candidate, three more council candidates step forward

Four people from NewCouncil.ca jump into the race for the Oct. 2018 municipal election

PHOTOS: Tour de Victoria takes off

1,800 cyclists took off in the Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria for a city-wide loop

Vancouver Island woman to attempt historic swim across Juan de Fuca Strait today

Ultra-marathon swimmer Susan Simmons to attempt to swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

Oak Bay brothers scoop 10 kg of poop from park paths in 30 mins

Family picks up dog poo to give back, inspire others to be more responsible

Five things to do in Greater Victoria this weekend

Puppy yoga, horses, cars, water guns and more make up this weekend’s list of events to see

RCMP looking for missing Duncan teen

Dallas Macleod, 18, was last seen on Aug. 10

Evacuation order issued in Island village due to “risk of falling debris”

Fire continues to threaten town’s only access road

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

Most Read