A record turnout of voters turned out for Lake Country's referendum as almost half of eligible voters cast a ballot

Referendum brings record voter turnout, most for the yes side

Nearly 50 per cent of all eligible voters cast a ballot in the referendum, many in advance polls

  • Apr. 28, 2015 7:00 a.m.

If Lake County was worried about its voter turnout after last November’s general election, the district can rest assured that there is plenty of tuned-in residents following the CN corridor referendum saw almost half of eligible voters turnout on Saturday or in one of five advance polls.

A record-breaking number of Lake Country residents voted in the referendum as 4,462 votes were tallied, 47.9 per cent of the eligible voters. That was much higher than the 24 per cent that voted in the November elections.

It was also only the second time the district took polling stations out to its wards and offered voters the chance to cast a ballot in their neighborhood ahead of the general voting day.

“It was a great turnout,” said Reyna Seabrook, Lake Country’s chief election officer. “That’s a huge number when it comes to elections. We heard tons of positive comments about voting in the wards. People really appreciated it. It comes down to cost but I think it’s a worthwhile investment (for future elections). It makes it so much easier and takes the pressure off on general voting day.”

Total costs for the referendum still need to be tallied but the cost will come in around the estimated $15,000, according to Seabrook.

The turnout at the polls was welcome news to Lake Country Mayor James Baker.

“The turnout for the referendum was outstanding and we are very pleased that residents in the community share our vision of the Okanagan Rail Corridor connecting communities and services of the valley,” said Mayor Baker.

The declaration of official results was made on Monday at municipal hall and a special council meeting will be held at 5 p.m. in the Council Chambers to adopt the loan authorization bylaw.

“Designs, public consultation and operating models will be evaluated for developing the corridor, but it may be a year or more before the route is developed and the corridor is open to the public,” said Michael Mercer, Director of Engineering and Environmental Services. “We’d remind residents that while the corridor may be acquired as District-owned land it is currently not open for public use.”

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