Regional governance review is necessary

It’s critical to understand that this is the most important regional study every undertaken in Greater Victoria

Oak Bay council will soon be debating a motion to join most other Greater Victoria municipalities in a provincially led and funded governance review of the region. And while it’s true that only four out of 10 Oak Bay voters endorsed the non-binding question on the November municipal ballot, it was also true it was a question that drew scorn as “an ill-disguised attempt at sabotaging the result”, “the most negatively phrased question” and “guaranteed to elicit a negative response”. Despite the flawed question, a significant number voted Yes. What results might have been achieved had the question been phrased to ask residents if they favoured a governance review?

Unlike the independent audits undertaken by the provincial and federal Auditors-General, B.C. municipalities currently have no effective functional oversight body that reports to citizens on an annual basis. Sure, municipalities have their financial reports audited, but that amounts to little more than making sure the numbers add up, a year after the fact.

Participating in the governance study would provide relevant, unbiased information about service and program delivery. Why wouldn’t council want information made available to the public that might point to potential improvements and efficiencies?  Is this the best that can be done for our community? (And by the way, here’s your 5.1 per cent property tax increase, and have a nice day.)

It’s said that information gaps are filled with speculation, and it’s a slippery slope to an opaque government when residents are prevented from having oversight information.

Regardless, a regional governance review is imminent, and Oak Bay runs the risk of being excluded if council doesn’t endorse participation. We are geographically, socially and economically linked to the region, not an island unto ourselves, and there are negative implications if council chooses a path of isolation from our municipal neighbours.  We implore our community leaders not to shut their eyes and ears to this opportunity.

It’s critical to understand that this is the most important regional study every undertaken in Greater Victoria. It will form the basis for how our region might be shaped in the years ahead, and those residents will be active participants. They will then have the chance to demonstrate their democratic choice for status quo or change, in a future binding referendum. We’d like to have that chance too.

Lesley Ewing


Oak Bay



Just Posted

Overworked and understaffed: More than 300 vacancies in Vancouver Island nursing

Tentative deal with province includes ‘working short premium’ to encourage hiring

Victoria city council seeks authority to tax empty homes

Council is asking the province for the authority to invoke a vacancy tax

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes says municipality will re-group after Rowing Canada decision

Haynes said he is “quite disappointed” but also respects choice of North Cowichan as national centre

Saanich police dog tracks dangerous driver after car ditched in Oak Bay

Man may face charges of dangerous driving and mischief

Backyardigans, Max & Ruby stage shows add to Family Day in Sidney

Bodine Hall shows make room for kids to sing, dance, enjoy Family Day weekend

VIDEO: Excessive speed on the Malahat captured by dash cam footage

Poster calls driving ‘dangerous, obnoxious and disrespectful’

POLL: Should people have to license their cats?

The Victoria Natural History Society has sent letters to 13 municipalities in… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

Most Read