Arts and culture funding denied by Shuswap voters

CSRD alternative approval process fails with 1,412 voters opposed

Electors have rejected a Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) initiative to provide funding to nonprofit arts, recreation and culture groups.

The CSRD put the plan to an Alternative Approval Process (AAP) which required 10 per cent of eligible voters in the affected parts of electoral areas C and F to submit forms opposing the plan.

The deadline for the forms was Aug. 21; 885 voters had to voice their disapproval in order to halt the adoption of the bylaw. A total of 1,412 responses from those opposed to the plan were received, this totals just less than 16 per cent of eligible voters.

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The proposed initiative would have created a service area allowing the CSRD to tax residents of Area C and the most densely populated parts of Area F in order to provide long-term, annual financial contributions to groups that provide arts, recreation and cultural programs to residents within those areas.

According to a July 2019 CSRD report, the additional cost to residents would have been approximately $17.82 for the owner of the average residential property in Area C, and $4.65 for the average Area F property. Both the costs and their division between Areas C and F were to be adjusted annually based on the previous year’s enrolment in the programs.

The CSRD will discuss whether to proceed to a referendum on the matter of the annual contributions or discontinue the process at their Sept. 19 regular board meeting.

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