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North Cariboo Politicians to tell you when to vote but not which way in Rec Centre referendum

The North Cariboo Joint Advisory Committee will be asking people to vote in a referendum to borrow money to upgrade the Rec Centre in Quesnel, but not necessarily in favour of it.

Staff prepared a joint statement for all eleven members of the committee, City Council and CRD, prior to last night’s meeting but a few of the members were uncomfortable with the portion of it saying that they believe that this project is long-overdue, and that they hope that residents will vote in favour of it.

Jim Glassford is the CRD Director for Area I.

“I guess for me I encourage people to vote.   How I feel on the project, for me is irrelevant.   That’s up to the people to decide.   I am in agreement with the referendum, but telling people how I feel I don’t think is appropriate.”

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CRD Area A Director Mary Sjostrom agreed and felt that the two bodies simply had different approaches when going to taxpayers.

“I think possibly the City, you have more of an aggressive, and I take that back if that’s not the right term.   But I think we have a different philosophy when it comes to going to our taxpayers.   I think to be successful we all need to be on the same page, so I don’t think we should be questioning people that have raised concerns, but if we’re not comfortable with what we’re signing, I don’t think we should be signing it.”

Sjostrom said that she felt the last statement wasn’t necessary, and was actually talking down to the taxpayers, not talking to them.

She also questioned why there was a joint statement, something she says they haven’t had in the past.

Director of Community Services Jeff Norburn said that it was to make sure that there was consensus among the committee on the messaging that is being put out about the project in the community.

“As staff I think as staff we really tried to thread the needle because we were aware of some of the elected officials who really wanted a clear, bold statement that we were supporting the project and encouraging people to vote in favour of it, and others who take the position that some of the elected officials have voiced, where it’s more of a “this is the information, you vote whatever way you want.”

Councillor Ron Paull was the only member of the City that questioned the statement.

“I don’t think that we should be encouraging people to vote one way or another, I think we should be just putting the facts out there and letting the chips fall where they may.   So I cannot sign onto this document if it has the last sentence of the penultimate paragraph and the last paragraph, otherwise I am good to go.”

Despite the change, all three did say that they were in favour of the project.

The vote to borrow up to 20 million dollars will take place on June 19th.

 

PORTION OF STATEMENT TAKEN OUT

We believe this long-overdue project is important for our community and essential for Quesnel’s long term sustainability and economic growth and we hope that residents will agree and vote in favour of this project on June 19.

As members of the North Cariboo Joint Advisory Committee, we feel this is the right project, at the right time for our community.   Our signatures below indicate our support to hold a referendum for this project on June 19, 2021.   It also indicates our support for the project scope as it has been defined, the amount of borrowing to be authorized, and the timeline for this process to proceed.

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