Research into the potential amalgamation of the two largest municipalities in Greater Victoria is resuming after being paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City of Victoria and District of Saanich previously asked residents in 2018 whether they would support exploring an amalgamation of the two municipalities.
According to Saanich Mayor Dean Murdock, the proposal received strong support from both communities and terms of reference were developed to continue with the process. However, the pandemic caused the process to come to a halt.
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Now, the communities have resumed forming a 48-person citizens’ assembly to research the potential benefits and drawbacks of amalgamation.
A proportionate number of members from both municipalities based on BC Statistics data, 27 from Saanich and 21 from Victoria, will be selected through a civic lottery to form the assembly.
Murdock has suggested that the assembly could recommend combining some services instead of a complete amalgamation if it would lead to greater efficiency.
The debate over amalgamation in the Capital Regional District has been ongoing for years, with some arguing that it could improve regional governance and reduce duplication, while others have voiced concerns over the potential loss of local representation and identity.