It's a YES to studying amalgamation

On October 20, 2018, the residents of Saanich & Victoria voted YES (56% & 66% respectively) to forming a Citizens' Assembly to study what will & won't work for our commuities. It's #WorthTheStudy.

Let’s get the facts on amalgamation. It’s #WorthTheStudy.

Victoria & Saanich residents overwhelming indicated interest in examining local government structure in the 2014 municipal election – voting 80% & 88.8% respectively.

Amalgamation may be a solution. The crucial next step is to review amalgamation through a Citizens’ Assembly.

A Citizens’ Assembly is a group of residents who review information & conduct an analysis to make a recommendation to councils & the public on whether amalgamation is a viable option for our communities. The Citizens’ Assembly process would take approximately 6 to 9 months.

Any recommended changes would need to be approved by the electorate in a subsequent vote.

The Ballot Question

On October 20, 2018 the residents of Victoria or Saanich voted YES to the following the question on their ballots and enabled a continued dialogue about whether or not amalgamation is right for our communities:

Are you in favour of spending up to $250,000 for establishing a Citizens’ Assembly to explore the costs, benefits and disadvantages of the amalgamation between the District of Saanich and the City of Victoria?

The Affordable Cost

The estimated cost to form & manage the Citizens’ Assembly is expected to be split evenly between Victoria, Saanich & the Government of B.C.* at up to $250,000 each.

In 2017, the operating & capital costs budget for the City of Victoria was approx. $275 million. For Saanich, approx. $270 million. Compared to those large budgets, the cost to study amalgamation is just 1/10th of 1 percent (or 0.09%) of each city’s total expenses.

To put the cost into perspective, this year:

  • Victoria will spend more than $250,000 on postage.**
  • Saanich will spend $250,000 to build just 2 city blocks of new sidewalk** in a road system that winds hundreds of kilometres.

It’s #WorthTheStudy.

*Government of B.C. funding to be confirmed
**Sources: Victoria 2018 Financial Plan, page 158 Saanich 2018 Financial Plan, page 80

About #WorthTheStudy

The number of municipalities in this relatively small region with its relatively small population has been controversial for decades. The YES vote on Oct. 20, 2018 enabled the crucial next step in the amalgamation debate.

The Citizens’ Assembly on amalgamation—despite only Saanich & Victoria having agreed to support it—is the closest we’ve ever been to getting an OBJECTIVE study on what will & won’t work in the Capital Region.

The study, its recommendations & any subsequent referendums will either advance amalgamation as a fact-based, majority-supported positive change; shelve it as an impractical, unpopular political distraction; or find a productive middle ground.

That’s why we think the Citizens’ Assembly is Worth The Study.

Worth The Study is an independent third-party sponsor registered with Elections BC. Volunteers & supporters are united by a common interest in getting the facts on amalgamation.

To get involved, email voteyes@worththestudy.ca.