Amalgamation ad misleading about View Royal

View Royal supporters may have been given false hope

A quarter-page ad that ran Tuesday in a Victoria newspaper got some of the facts wrong when it declared the Town of View Royal’s intentions for a council meeting that night.

The ad, purchased by the Capital Region Municipal Amalgamation Society, stated “the mayor and council of View Royal will be discussing the Amalgamation Yes request to include a non-binding referendum question to study amalgamation” at the Sept. 16 council meeting. It urged View Royal residents to attend and express their support of adding the question to November’s municipal ballot.

However, when asked about the possible discussion, Coun. David Screech said the matter had already been closed.

“We were just as surprised (at the ad),” he said. “It’s not on our agenda. It was already discussed at council and we decided we would stick with ‘no.’”

Jennifer Cochrane, executive assistant for the Town of View Royal, confirmed late Tuesday that further discussion on the referendum question had not been added to the agenda.

John Vickers, vice-president for the society, said the wording in the ad resulted from a misunderstanding.

“It was our understanding that all motions from a committee of the whole (meeting) had to be put forward in the minutes and come before council to be approved,” he said.

The hiccup came because the decision had already been made in July at a previous committee of the whole meeting, said Screech, and the mention of the question in the Sept. 9 meeting arose from previous business.

The initial ‘no’ decision in July came about because council thought it was “absurd” to have only Victoria and View Royal putting the question on the ballot, said Screech. With Langford and Central Saanich saying yes to a ballot question in the intervening time between July’s meeting and Sept. 9, Coun. Ron Mattson suggested they revisit the decision in light of the new information.

While not necessarily in favour of amalgamation, Mattson said “it’s essential that we give the public the opportunity to provide their views on amalgamation.”

The motion to revisit the ‘no’ vote from July was defeated 3-2, and so the matter was closed, said Screech.

Nonetheless, members of Amalgamation Yes showed up at the council meeting and took advantage of the public question and answer period to bring up the matter of the question again.

“They just received the reply that the decision had been made to not include the question,” Screech said.

acowan@goldstreamgazette.com