Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Open Ltr from Director Dixon-Warren re: Nov 9th Referendum

To: ALL residents within the North Cariboo Recreation and Parks Function (parts of Cariboo RD Areas A, B, C and I & ALL voters within the City of Quesnel)

From: Cariboo RD Area 'B' Director Heloise Dixon-Warren

Re: Nov 9th NC Multicentre Referendum

On November 9th, please take the time to get out and express your opinion by VOTING in the Cariboo Regional District referendum on the proposed North Cariboo Multi-Centre project.

This referendum is being held as per Section 797.3 of the Local Government Act which reads as follows:

 A board may, by bylaw, provide for a referendum in the whole or a part of one or more municipalities or electoral areas to obtain the opinion of the electors on a question regarding a service that is or that may be operated by the regional district.

The question being asked is: "Are you in favour of the Cariboo Regional District extending its authorization to borrow up to $15,000,000 to provide for the construction of a new arena, theatre and multi-purpose event space, for a further two year period, to allow fundraising efforts to continue?"

There are two answers to the question being asked; either a “YES” or a “NO”. I don’t equate the result as a “PASS” or “FAIL”. To do so would be an unfair way of evaluating the opinion of eligible voters. 

Rather, the purpose of the referendum question is so NCRP (North Cariboo Recreation and Parks) residents can publicly and collectively state their opinion on the question being posed. Through voting, residents have the opportunity to have a say in how their affairs are managed and let the elected officials know their true feelings on the subject. 

This is so very important. As recreation is the single largest function NCRP residents are taxed for, every vote is needed so elected officials can move forward with the right decision on your behalf.

As a Director for the Cariboo Regional District, your vote is the only way I can measure the combined view of the eligible voters of the North Cariboo Recreation & Parks function. It is through voting your opinion is captured.

Although I only represent Electoral Area B (population 4,000), the NCRP function is a shared function. Residents that reside within some parts of Cariboo Regional District Electoral Areas A, B, C and I and the entire City of Quesnel contribute to this function. Although all decisions relating to the NCRP function are addressed first by the North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee (NCJPC), this committee has no legal authority.

All recommendations of the NCJPC are brought forward to the Cariboo Regional District board for further discussion and ratification. Within the NCRP function, nothing is final until it is endorsed by the Cariboo Regional District Board of Directors. There are 16 Elected Officials at the CRD voting table – 1 for each of the 12 Electoral Areas and 1 for each of the member municipalities.

Referendum results are typically based upon a “simple majority” – simply put 50% + 1. For the Nov. 9th referendum, it would be ideal to see a strong majority. It is less important to me whether it be a “YES” vs. a “NO”. Results with a “weak majority” (e.g. a split vote) will potentially be challenging as they do not provide a strong message and clear direction to the elected officials as to what is best for the residents of the North Cariboo Parks and Recreation function. Due to the magnitude of the proposed project, both financial and social, it is important that the right path be chosen by elected officials on behalf of residents.

I attended all four of the Public Information Meetings held by the Cariboo Regional District and City of Quesnel and the subsequent Open House hosted by the Coalition of Concerned Citizens for the North Cariboo Multi-Centre. At those meetings, I heard both favour and aversion to the proposed North Cariboo Multi-Centre project. People spoke with honesty. Some had a lot of passion for the project “as is” whereas others had concerns that should be validated and not be ignored. I also heard that many residents support a new arena and theatre but not necessarily as set forth in the proposed $30 millon project. To move this, or any, project forward I feel that we, as elected officials, need to listen so that we know with certainty what project is right for the collective majority of NCRP residents. The right project is the one that has a strong majority of residents supporting it.

In conclusion, if you’re unsure if you can vote, check the criteria for voter eligibility. There are a few things to consider. You must live or own property within the NCRP boundary. You must be a Canadian citizen. You must be 18 Years or older. Check out for additional information on the voting process.

Cariboo Reg District Area 'B' Director Heloise Dixon-Warren can be reached via email here or view her blog page by clicking here.  She also maintains a Facebook page which you can view here

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