Referendum officials say turnout was about 39.5 per cent.

Referendum officials say turnout was about 39.5 per cent.

Area I rejects recreation complex expansion proposal: referendum defeated

Enhancement plan wins overall vote, but was lost in one polling station

Voters in a rural area outside of Castlegar have voted against plans to expand the city’s recreation complex, killing the proposal.

While an overall small majority of voters — 51.9 per cent — voted in favour of the proposal, voters in Area I voted soundly against the project, defeating it in a referendum held Saturday in the area.

39.5 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots in the at-times hotly debated vote.

2,059 voters voted “yes” while 1,907 voted “no”, a difference of just 152 votes. However, the proposal had to meet voter approval in three separate polling areas — the City of Castlegar, RDCK Area I and Area J in order to pass. As it turned out, while Castlegar and Area J voted in favour, Area I voted against, 498 to 200.

Area I includes communities east of Castlegar like Glade and Tarrys, Thrums and Pass Creek.

Vote breakdown

Castlegar: Yes — 1367 (57%), No — 1032 (43%)

Area J: Yes — 492 (57%), No — 377 (43%)

Area I: Yes — 200 (29%), No — 498 (71%)

The RDCK had asked voters to pass two bylaws. One would create a new recreation service, combining two existing ones; the second bylaw allowed that service to borrow $22 million to expand Castlegar’s recreation complex. Plans included a second sheet of ice, elevated walking track, a new “social hub,” pool, gym and other improvements.

Proponents said the expanded complex would be a facility that would provide new recreation opportunities as a hub of the community and help attract growth to the area. But opponents chafed at the estimated cost — about $150 in extra taxes a year on a property assessed at $300,000. The rate would have been even in a higher in part of Area I that currently doesn’t pay taxes on the aquatic centre portion of the complex.

About 10,000 residents were eligible to vote on the proposal.

 

Unofficial referendum results released Saturday night.

Unofficial referendum results released Saturday night.