Alternative approval process to proceed for Centennial Field purchase

Fate of loan to purchase land for future park in hands of South Shuswap residents

The inspector of municipalities has signed off on the use of an alternative approval process to decide if the CSRD will be allowed to borrow $1.77 million to purchase Centennial Field in Blind Bay.

The alternative approval process (AAP) will take place from Aug. 23 to Oct. 2. In order to halt the borrowing and send the process to a full referendum, 10 per cent of the eligible voters in Electoral Area C, in this case 671 people, will have to submit forms expressing their opposition.

The final deadline for the submission of the forms is 4 p.m. on Oct. 2.

“The purchase of Centennial Field represents a terrific opportunity for all of us to acquire a very unique piece of property for a community park, a park that was requested in the Area C Parks Plan,” said Area C director Paul Demenok.

“If approved, this park will deliver social, cultural, economic, environmental and recreational benefits for generations to come, and these benefits will far outweigh the costs, in my opinion.”

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The decision to use the AAP to gain elector support has drawn opposition from some South Shuswap residents.

Blind Bay resident Ken Smith said while he is not opposed to the development of a park using Centennial Field, he is against the use of the AAP rather than allowing the issue to go to a referendum.

“If we vote it down then they’ll take it to the people. As far as I’m concerned, they have no right to make that kind of a decision assuming the majority wants it, because I don’t think the majority does.”

Smith added that he does not think an AAP should be scheduled during the summer months, and cited a B.C. government guide which cautioned against it.

“The decision to hold an AAP when many electors are absent during the summer months or other holiday season could result in an artificially low response rate that falls well short of the required 10 per cent,” the guide reads.

The guide suggests a timeline longer than 30 days should be considered for an AAP held in the summer or during the holidays. The timeline for the Centennial Field AAP is 39 days.

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If the loan for the purchase of Centennial Field is approved, it would result in a $48 per year tax increase for the owners of the average residential property in Blind Bay, based on a 25-year loan amortization.

Once the AAP officially begins on Aug. 23, the CSRD will be posting an information page to their website which will include links to response forms, associated bylaws, staff reports and frequently asked questions.

According to the CSRD, an informational meeting is also being planned for Area C to give the public a chance to learn about the proposed loan and have their questions answered.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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