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Last chance for Area D referendum consultation

Area D residents will have one last chance to talk to the city and gather information before casting their vote on whether or not to join the city of Campbell River.

The city is hosting a pre-referendum open house on June 16 at Ocean Grove Elementary to provide information on the final proposal and referendum for the city’s boundary extension and sewer service offer for northern Area D.

The city is offering to provide sewer service to 535 Area D properties south of the city limit to McGimpsey Road, on the condition those residents agree to become a part of Campbell River.

Residents within the proposed boundary extension area will vote in a referendum Saturday, June 28.

Advance polls are scheduled for June 18 and June 24.

The city has announced that the referendum question, with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ option, will read: “Are you in favour of a boundary extension to include a portion of Electoral Area D within the boundaries of the City of Campbell River for the purpose of connecting to the City of Campbell River sanitary sewer service?”

City Elections Officer Lynn Ketch will oversee the referendum and is expected to be in attendance at next week’s open house to field questions relating to the voting process.

Meanwhile, council has approved using the Alternate Approval Process to get support from Campbell River residents.

Coun. Larry Samson said it will be cheaper than the alternative.

“The Alternate Approval Process costs the city, I’ll say minimal or nil dollars, whereas the alternative to this is a referendum for city taxpayers which would put the cost to the city at around $60,000,” said Samson who added he was reluctant to support the boundary extension. “I’d like to get this over and done with.”

Mayor Walter Jakeway, who believes the Alternate Approval Process to be undemocratic and is against the Area D expansion proposal, was the only one on council to oppose moving forward with the voting process.

The Alternate Approval method will allow council to proceed with the boundary extension unless more than 10 per cent of the city’s electors (which is 2,401) object by signing an elector response form and submit it to city hall.

The process is expected to begin near the end of June and electors will have until July 21 at 4 p.m. to object.

If the boundary extension does go ahead, Campbell River taxpayers will be charged an extra $24 a year in user fees for 20 years – the amount of time it’s expected to take to pay off the $3.9 million project debt.

Area D residents would be expected to pay $9,300 – either in one lump sum or over the course of 20 years, likely starting in 2015.

Residents would have up to five years to connect to the city’s sewer system and pay the $1,800 connection fee.

There would also be a third cost for property owners – to connect their home to the sewer line.

In the meantime, the city says it will be distributing a newsletter in the proposed boundary extension area to answer frequently asked questions and to provide information about the open house, referendum question, chief elections officer and voting details.

The open house takes place on Monday between 5 and 8 p.m. at Ocean Grove school (3773 McLelan Road).

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