Saturday was B.C civic election day, and citizens of three communities in the Okanagan, Shuswap and Boundary regions not only voted in their respective mayors and councils, but they also passed referendum questions to borrow money for needed projects.
In Salmon Arm, citizens gave the city the green light to borrow $5.3 million to construct the Ross Street underpass and related works.
The results were 3,486 in favour and 2,069 against.
The major infrastructure project is expected to cost a total of $12 million. The remainder of the costs will be covered by reserve funds. Council has said borrowing the funds will not result in a tax increase.
In Lake Country, the referendum question was: Are you in favour of the district borrowing up to $6.6 million to construct a new fire hall?
Voters came out in support of the new fire hall with 1,724 voting yes and 1,026 no.
Mayor James Baker said it will be a bigger and more functional building.
“The other one has a bunch of add-ons. We can’t even store all of our equipment in the fire hall,” said Baker.
He added that the average household ($650,000) will pay an extra $90 a year for 20 years.
And in Keremeos, the referendum question was: Are you in favour of the district borrowing $350,000 to purchase a new fire truck?
Eight-hundred and fifty one people cast a ballot in favour and 162 people were opposed.
Approval of the electors is required for a variety of municipal and regional district actions, including municipal loan authorization bylaws.
The BC government website says where approval of the electors is required, it may be obtained by the local government either directly through assent voting (referendum) or by first ‘testing the waters’ through the alternative approval process.