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.
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.