VICTORIA -- Victoria city council has passed a motion created by city staff that recommends a byelection to replace councillor Laurel Collins be held as early as March.

Last week, city staff presented two byelection options to council for review, the first being a smaller, cheaper option that could take place in March and the second being a larger, more expensive option which would have to be postponed until April.

The former option, according to staff, would take place at four polling stations across the city and cost between $140,000 and $170,000 while the second option would be held at 12 different voting stations and cost taxpayers between $320,000 and $360,000.

At a committee of the whole meeting Thursday, council unanimously approved the first recommended voting option, with the exact date of the byelection to be decided by a Chief Election Officer in January 2020.

Two councillors did raise comments before the motion was passed, with Coun. Ben Isett noting that he would be comfortable with creating several more polling stations if four seems like not enough for fair distribution throughout the city, and Coun. Charlayne Thortone-Joe stressing that systems be in place to cast ballots through the mail so that residents who have difficulty making it to a polling station, like those in care homes, still have the ability to vote.

An additional report will now be prepared for council to review possible polling station locations, details on voter mailout options and final cost.

The byelection is set to replace former councillor Collins who resigned her seat in November after being elected the NDP's MP for Victoria.