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October 27, 2017 7:05 pm

Dollars Set Aside for Possible Referendum

Wednesday, February 1, 2017 @ 4:48 PM

Prince George, B.C. -The  City of Prince George  Legislative Services budget  for 2017 has boosted its budget by $100 thousand dollars,  in the event it may conduct  a referendum this year.

The City  is looking at  constructing a new  Four Seasons Pool and  replacing Firehall #1.  Together, the two projects carry a $50 million dollar price tag.

Because  of the size of the amount  that would need to be borrowed  and the length of term for the loans ( between 20 and 30 years)   the electorate  has a say.

The City could   call for an alternate  approval process,  which would require 10% of the eligible  electorate to sign a document indicating they do not support  the borrowing.  Or, they  could call for a referendum.

Both projects will  be up for discussion  later this evening  when the Capital plan is brought forward for  discussion and possible approval.



Couldn’t they wait and add the question onto the next election and save the 100k? The buildings have remained standing for this long.

    or, they could have fired Rob van Adrichem, for all the good he is doing! His salary and benefits are easily over the $100,000.00 mark!

    But alas, Rob probably has a contract with a very expensive exit clause, as that seems to be the norm!

I’d vote yes to both. It’s expensive but necessary. Should go with the alternative vote for this one though and save us $100000. I can’t imagine why anyone would be against this. A pool is good for all the community, tourism and especially good for our youth. My children spent many, many hours at that pool when they were young. Better there with their friends than on the streets getting into trouble which only increases our policing costs so might as well be a pool instead. Just my thoughts :)

    Pools are great no question, but this money isn’t to add a pool, its to replace the one we have.

Didn’t we vote you in to make this decision, instead you want to get it ratified before the election, so they do not take a chance on anything.

SPINELESS…. don’t be such a Paul Ryan politician. Stand up and make a decision.

they will probably do the alternate approval process.
they will probably hope we are too lazy to go to city hall and say no

    not that I am saying no but that is the way the process works, it relies on people
    being lazy

The four seasons pool is like my pick-up, a little rough around the edges but it does the job and I can’t afford a new one.

If you go to New York or Boston there are firehalls that are over 100 years old that are still in operation. In Livermore California there is a firehall that has a lightbulb that has been burning continuiously for 115 years. Christ we can’t get our civic buildings last half that never mind the lightbulbs.

Basic building maintenance seems to be non existent in the mind of our city council and staff. Repairs to the old police station to keep it up to acceptable standard were ignored until the building was beyond repair.

A similar thing has happened to the Four Seasons where failures to the building envelope were put off till rot and mold took over, bad enough that repair estimates were estimated at 3-4 million.

The consultant report on swimming pools showed large portions of the brick facade on the Aquatic Center have come loose allowing moisture to get behind. Same sad story at CN center where stucco is in need of repair but no money allocated.

It seems the life of a city building is about the same as the new metal roofs for your house- about 50 years. If there is a person responsible for identifying and and prioritizing necessary repairs to city buildings they should be fired and if they don’t have someone they should hire somebody.

    Bang on!

    No doubt Sparrow, well said. I am a millwright by trade and when I was millwrighting my job was to get maximum life out of equipment. If private business maintained their equipment like the city they would be bankrupt. I was talking to a city employee that is a heavy duty mechanic for the city and he commented that all the garbage trucks hydraulics where wore out and the city will just buy new garbage trucks. I asked him why they just don’t rebuild the hydraulics and the worn out parts. He answered why when we can buy new? This attitude from a tradesman shocked me. This attitude is so prevalent at the city that is why taxes go up and up.

does it really cost 100 grand to ask residents if they approve? Isn’t there a better, cheaper way? Like, maybe social media or thru email.

    both ways are too easy to exclude and lose votes actually the alternate approval process is the same.

Totally agree with MiddlePath. Get the City to give citizens a portal to vote on these issues through the City’s website. There are probably only about 60,000 voters in this City and I bet that only about 60% bother voting. Surely the City’s website could handle getting 36,000 responses. They already do this when they ask for responses by filling out a survey. Just add more information like providing a driver’s license or BC Medical card number to keep people from voting more than once.

Surely, something like that could be done for cheaper than $100K and then keep the basic website structure for future questions such as this. Down the road it could be even cheaper.

When the city borrows money in excess of (I think) $5 Million dollars then they have to get the consent of the registered voters of the city. This is a requirement under the Municipal Act and they have no choice in the matter.

So if they are going to borrow they have two choices.

1. Go to an alternate approval process, which as noted above the borrowing could be stopped if signatures of 10% of the eligible voters in the city are opposed to the borrowing. 10% would be approx. 6000 signatures. If the borrowing is stopped by the AAP then the city has the option to still go to a referendum, however they usually don’t because they know that at least 6000 people would vote against the referendum.

2. The city can go directly to a referendum, which would cost in the area of $100,000.00 based on the cost of a civic election. The problem with the referendum route is that if you lose then the borrowing cannot take place, and the projects are basically scrapped.

So City Council has to roll the dice and decide which way they want to go on this issue.

People over the years have not been happy with the city using the AAP because it basically gives the city a free ride for borrowing without any input from taxpayers. Collecting 6000 signatures that have to be collected in a 30 day period is no easy task, so the city usually goes the AAP route. However there has been one or two instances when the required number of signatures were reached, and therefore the city is a little gun shy about the APP.

In this instance I would think that the democratic route to go would be the referendum as taxpayers need to be involved in the borrowing of the huge amounts of money. Keep in mind that the borrowing of $50 million over 20 or 30 years will cost roughly $20 Million in interest payments.

100k is not a lot of money. They could build up a bunch of questions and have a mass referendum on a variety of issues. They could do this every year or two as needed.

I agree we need a new pool and perhaps a new fire hall but I do not agree or ever will with an AAP process.

The AAP process assumes all who are not opposed are for it which is not the case. If we are lucky maybe 50% vote for anything but it is a vote of those willing to take their time and cast a ballot. That’s a fair deal, didn’t vote, don’t bitch.

AAP, don’t get enough names on the petition and the rest of the population is against you even if only 1% cared enough to vote.

Who would want to see an AAP process for local, provincial or federal govt?

I sure as hell wouldn’t.

I say put it off until next election and include it on the ballot like any sane person would do.

    the city would want it, they get their way and help out all their “FRIENDS” with no opposition

Isn’t it a little goofy that council constantly promotes down town yet when it comes time to build a new fire hall, the location of choice is by the YMCA. If that is the case, why do we even bother trying to keep downtown vibrant. Oh, I forgot…….parking ticket revenue.

    I think maybe city council has their sleep disturbed when the firetrucks go out code 3… we can’t have that, and yes the ticket revenue is a big one.

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