Friday, June 12, 2009

Saanich should not consider the concerns of View Royal Residents on issues involving the use of land in Saanich – which is a problem

Saanich mayor finds that a public hearing on the sale of liquor at Highlands Pacific golf course will “be interesting”.

This is because all the neighbors who will care about this and perhaps object live in View Royal. In fact you can only get to the golf course by going through View Royal.

If there are concerns raised by View Royal residents, the chances of them being addressed are close to nil. Why would Saanich care? If it is good for a municipal business, which pays taxes to the city, and there is no down side to the city, which collects that tax, they must reasonably allow whatever is asked for.

The impact on residents in another city should not be a concern. This is true…except for the fact that we all live so close together that we are one city in fact, just not on paper.

So while Saanich should listen and possibly accept the concerns of those outside the city, given our current setup, counsel should not listen to those concerns. To do so would be contrary to their obligation to do what is best for the residents of Saanich.

Right now, they should ignore the residents of View Royal.

However this is not the result that is best for our “City”. The best result is for Saanich and View Royal to be amalgamated, and then there would be an obligation to do what is best for the whole city, which includes everyone who is affected.


Anonymous said...

The simplicity of your arguments is really quite overwhelming. Of course Saanich Council would take into account residents concerns. They are elected officials who are serving their community and the broader community.
Have you been to any Council meetings in the jurisdictions you like to criticize?
Do you really think that Highland Residents care less about their community than a central government would?
Can you explain why Highlands and Metchosin consistently have the highest voter turnout in municipal elections?

We are all blessed to live in Greater Victoria and while it may have some problems amalgamation is not the magic bullet.
Ask Toronto, Halifax, or Ottawa.

We should be encouraging intelligent discourse on the subject, not just putting forward somewhat bombastic opinions.

James Legh said...

Thank you for your thoughts.

The objective here is not to fully set out the arguments in favour of amalgamation, but rather point out, based on what is in the current news, issues that might be better dealt with if we had fewer cities in such a small area.
I admit that not every issue is guaranteed to be better addressed by a more representative city, but I do believe that overall we would have a better city for all.
To address your points, I would comment as follows:
1. Saanich counsellors are NOT elected to serve the broader community. They are elected to do what is best for Saanich. They may, but should not consider the concerns of others, if those concerns are not in the best interests of the residents of Saanich. I would prefer that they were required to consider the best interests of the region, but the region does not elect them.
2. I have only been to Council meetings of Saanich, Victoria and Esquimalt. Which raised a great point. Who realistically, has time to go to 13 council meetings? I have interests in every single city, given my work, interests and lifestyle. Yet it is not realistic that I am able to go to them all.
3. Do I think Highlanders care less about their community than a central government would? Definitely not. But what is their community? Does it end at the boarder? Of course not. I absolutely care about the Highlands. I go there once or twice a week. I have no say in what they do and I do not like everything they have done. Why should I not have some say? The land is in my community; I certainly consider it my community. While there will be exceptions, I do not believe that every member of the Highlands would say they have no interest in what happens outside their municipal boarders.
4. Why do some areas have higher voter turn out? We could debate that, but what is the point? View Royal has had entire acclamations. Saanich has had the mayor acclaimed. If small means we all turn out to vote, should we assume then that Saanich should be divided into eight more cities so people will get out and vote. Personally I just want good, logical government.
5. Amalgamation may not be a magic solution. It may be that one city is not right. But I do not believe the current situation is good. I am trying to create an opportunity for discussion. Thank you so much for helping do so.