Amalgamation Yes remains unhappy with the direction of potential integration in the region after a Chamber luncheon last week.
The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce event featured Peter Fassbender, minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, who tasked consultants to work on the Capital Integrated Services and Governance Initiative, exploring ways to integrate services and governance in the region.
“He really hasn’t changed his tune in terms of any consideration of the respect of the wishes of 75 per cent of voters in the region that were very clear they welcomed an amalgamation study,” said John Vickers, from Amalgamation Yes. “It’s just disappointing that we’re not going to have a real in-depth review.”
Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen agreed Fassbender’s message hasn’t changed much.
“Really in the grand scheme of things he really didn’t say a lot,” Jensen said. “He urged people to read the report when it’s released, read it carefully. I think that’s a fair way to approach it, his message is as fair as can be.”
The Capital Integrated Services and Governance Initiative report is expected in the next few weeks.
The report, developed in consultation with area local governments, is to look at ways they can integrate services and governance and will include input from local stakeholder organizations on their perceptions of issues and opportunities facing local government in the Capital Regional District.
“The other part of his message is he will not use the hammer. He will not force amalgamation. He is prepared to be part of the solution, whatever the local communities feel is the solution,” Jensen said. “To put it in the vernacular, there won’t be a shotgun wedding. There won’t be forced amalgamation, no hammer will be used.”
Amalgamation Yes also voiced concern over the online forum, which closes tomorrow.
“We’ve done an in-depth review of that and there’s a whole lot that’s missing and a whole lot that’s wrong. It just doesn’t give people the opportunity to get at the information that people need to look at to decide where the region needs to go,” Vickers said.
Capital Integrated Services and Governance Initiative virtual open house at placespeak.com/CISGI closes Dec. 15.