Questioning validity of referendum

Staff writer
April 4, 2014 01:00 AM


With the paper thin majority in favour of the "yes" side in the referendum on the funding of the wastewater treatment facility, one is forced to wonder how much the vote was affected by the possibly misleading information in the circular letter dated Feb. 17. How could one not accept an option that would save Sechelt at least $2.2 million? But does the proposal stand up to scrutiny?

In the new plan, the GMF grant essentially covers the interest on the loan and, if so used, would save about $300,000 in interest relative to the original plan. Any additional saving would require the use of the retained $5.9 million. The problem here is that the same $1 million cannot be used to pay the loan interest and still be included in the total project budget. This ambiguity needs to be resolved.

Saving on interest is one thing, but there remains the principal to be repaid - about $70,000 a month (or $61,000 if the grant is used for the loan interest) for 10 years. This money would be in addition to existing commitments and has to come from somewhere, but apparently not from the $5.9 million retained, which is earmarked for investment. The letter is also insistent that there would be no increase in fees or property tax.

In my view, the information provided the electorate by the District was sufficiently misleading, perhaps unintentionally so, as to nullify the result of the referendum and any subsequent actions.

William G. Warren, Sechelt

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