75% voted YES to a non-binding referendum question in the November 2014 municipal elections. Immediately after the election, the Honourable Coralee Oakes, BC Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, issued the following statement, and subsequently committed to a Provincially-funded amalgamation study. Premier Christy Clark also voiced her support for the referendum results and reforming our local government.
On June 12, 2015, Premier Christy Clark issued a Mandate to Minister Oakes.
On July 30, 2015, Peter Fassbender was appointed as Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development and Minister Responsible for TransLink. Premier Clark subsequently issued the following Mandate to Minister Fassbender.
The electorate is anticipating that municipalities and the Province will soon fulfill the mandate and initiate the studies that will guide our future. Read the letters from/between municipalities to the Province to date.
On November 5, 2015, Minister Fassbender wrote to municipal mayors to meet with him before year end to discuss moving forward on governance in the region. The meeting took place on December 3, 2015, and Minister Fassbender wrote to municipal mayors afterwards. But to date, the Province has not publicly shared any information resulting from this meeting, nor have the mayors made any formal joint statement. Amalgamation Yes received communication from the Minister in late January, 2016 and Amalgamation Yes also wrote to the Premier.
Subsequently, Amalgamation Yes obtained a copy of correspondence between Minister Fassbender and local mayors with draft terms of reference for a review process, and requests for mayoral feedback by early February, later extended to February 23, 2016. In late March, the Province issued an Request for Proposal for a consultant to gather information from regional mayors for the Capital Integrated Services and Governance Initiative project, to conclude in November, 2016.
Read the Report Card on services within Greater Victoria, sent to Minister Fassbender and 13 municipal mayors.
Amalgamation Yes has submitted draft guidelines and study methodology to the Province and the 13 CRD municipalities in anticipation of the Provincially-led study. We are hopeful that this will provide an initial framework for discussion. The drafts are not intended to be prescriptive, but rather to assist in starting the process of how a governance study project might be carried out.
In June 2016, the Province of BC selected two consulting firms, Urban Systems and Circle Square Solutions, to gather information on municipal services. Read the media release.
If you voted in one of the 8 municipalities with a referendum question on the municipal ballot, thank you for participating in this historic event! Your vote has made an impressive impact on the future of local governance in our community. In aggregate, you voted overwhelmingly in support of a governance review. Just over 80,000 turned out to vote on some form of amalgamation study question on the ballot, and a resounding 60,000 of you voted YES -- that's 75% -- an undisputable confirmation that people of the region are ready to look at how we can improve our Greater Victoria community. See the referendum results from 8 municipalities with a question: Victoria, Esquimalt, Saanich, Oak Bay, Sidney, North Saanich, Central Saanich and Langford.
To the voters in the 5 municipalities without a referendum question on the ballot: 11,000 of you turned out to vote. If your municipality had permitted such a non-binding referendum vote, the YES numbers would have increased even more. Those municipalities without a question were Colwood, Highlands, Metchosin, Sooke and View Royal. But it's never too late to let your new council know that you want to have a voice on this issue, and to expect their cooperation on regional studies undertaken by the Province.
Are the elected council members fulfilling the commitments made during the election process? . What about the pre-election pledge Open Letter to Voters in the Capital Region? Are they honouring that pledge now?