BLACK PINES — I will be recommending to the TNRD board that a petition be distributed to residents of the Black Pines community water system service area asking whether they approve borrowing a third of the cost for a $1.345 million river intake.
Thirty residents attended a meeting at the Whispering Pines hall tonight (Nov. 3, 2015) to receive an update on the proposed project and on funding, since the federal and provincial governments each approved a grant of $448,333 earlier this year, totaling two-thirds of the cost. Local cost, including fees etc., would be a little over $460,000. If the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is approved, it will contribute $150,000 toward that cost.
A petition distributed last December-January didn’t achieve the necessary 50 per cent approval of properties representing 50 per cent of the assessed property value within the water system.
At that time, the application for federal-provincial infrastructure funding was in progress, but wasn’t approved until July.
A straw vote taken at the meeting tonight found 13 to 6 in favour of another petition. The poll was taken based on one vote per household.
A concern was raised that notices sent by the TNRD had not indicated that a straw vote would be taken, and that more residents might have attended if they’d known.
Though in my own email blasts and this blog I had mentioned that a consensus would be sought at the meeting, this is a fair comment, as the notice said the meeting would provide information on the need for the upgrade, its design, costs and options, and the assent process but didn’t specify asking for direction via a straw poll.
However, I’m convinced that on balance it wasn’t crucial in determining if there was sufficient interest in moving to a formal decision via a “public assent” process.
There’s a lot of money at stake, as well as public health, and I felt there were enough people in the room who wanted to see it go to a formal process that it’s justified. The second issue — petition or referendum — wasn’t really an issue at all. Using a petition was favoured almost unanimously.
I will continue to provide updates as the question on the project moves through the steps.