UPDATE: Electorate flushes down sewer project

Nearly three quarters of voters who took part in referendum voted against project

The multi-phase, multi-partner south sewer project was unceremoniously flushed down the drain Saturday, as nearly three quarters of voters who took part in the referendum voted against the estimated $56 million project.

The Comox Valley Regional District had secured approximately $35 million in funding for the project.

The referendum asked residents of Royston, Union Bay and Kilmarnock whether or not they were in favour of taxpayer-based funding for the balance of the project, amortized over 30 years. The estimated cost to homeowners was pegged at between $1,800 and $2,000 per year.

A total of 970 votes were cast, 686 of which voted against the proposal, 71 per cent.

CVRD chair and Area 1 director Bruce Jolliffe was surprised at the result.

“I was a little bit surprised; I thought if anything, it would be a little bit closer than that,” he said. “Given the history, too, the previous referendum was 69 per cent in favour.”

A 2006 referendum addressed the same issue, asking residents if they would be in favour of a project, should the CVRD attain two-thirds of the necessary funding.

The 2006 referendum passed, but the project did not go ahead at that time, as the funding was not available.

This time the district had the appropriate funding in place, but the voters turned it down.

“After a decade and a bit, we find the funding and the electorate has a different (opinion),” said Jolliffe. “If you do the math, it’s about half of the electorate that has changed their mind and swapped sides.”

The voter turnout was estimated at 43 per cent, which also surprised Jolliffe.

“For such an important thing, it was very disappointing that less than half the people would take the time to (vote),” he said. “We provided many opportunities, including a mail-in option, the advance poll and of course the vote on Saturday.”

Where does the CVRD go from here?

“Well, we’ll have to regroup,” said Jolliffe. “We didn’t spend a lot of time putting Plan B together – that’ not the object of the game. But obviously the voters have spoken – they are not interested at this point.”

Jolliffe expects the available funding to be pulled off the table forthwith.

“Now that we don’t have a mandate for its use, that funding is money that can be used for another municipality. It’s not going to just sit there.”

As for suggestions that the province could step in and mandate the advancement of a sewer project contrary to the referendum results, Jolliffe is not expecting any such action.

“I don’t get a sense of that at this time,” he said. “There is speculation from others but we have no information from the province, one way or the other.”

The second question put to voters was whether or not they supported a public–private partnership (P3) agreement. Of the 972 votes cast on that question, 733 voted no, or 75 per cent.

 

 

 

Just Posted

Vancouver Island pharmacist suspended for giving drugs with human placenta

RCMP had samples of the seized substances tested by Health Canada

Motor vehicle incident on Mount Washington road involving a motorcycle

Emergency personnel were called out to the scene of a motor vehicle… Continue reading

Bylaw rescinded after vacation rental owners express concerns

Concerns included a lack of consultation

Get ready for a week of sunshine across Vancouver Island

Environment Canada is forecasting temperatures in the high teens all this week

B.C. students send books to displaced students of Hornby Island school fire

Maple Ridge elementary school teacher says students learned about acts of kindness

Video: Flyers new mascot ‘Gritty’ a bearded, googly-eyed terror

The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot Monday, and as one would expect of the team that gave us the “Broad Street Bullies,” he’s far from cuddly.

Vancouver Island designated as foreign trade zone

Designation simplifies importing and exporting and provides duty relief

Edmonton cannabis company revenues more than triples to $19.1 million

Aurora Cannabis revenues more than triple in fourth quarter

Seattle one step closer to NHL after arena plan approved

Seattle City Council unanimously approved plans for a privately funded $700 million renovation of KeyArena

Harvest Moon to light up B.C. skies with an ‘autumn hue’

It’s the first moon after the autumn equinox

Hockey league gets $1.4M for assistance program after Humboldt Broncos crash

Program will help players, families, coaches and volunteers after the shock of the deadly crash

Canada has removed six out of 900 asylum seekers already facing U.S. deportation

Ottawa had said the ‘overwhelming majority’ had been removed

Appeal pipeline decision but consult Indigenous communities, Scheer says

The federal appeals court halted the Trans Mountain expansion last month

Most Read