Update: Community invited to West Kelowna city hall referendum

Public invited to official declaration of referendum results

A voter casts a ballot in the West Kelowna city hall referendum Saturday at Const. Neil Bruce Middle School.

The Official Results of the Sept. 17 City Hall Referendum will be declared at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016.

The public and media are invited to attend the announcement by Chief Election Officer Tracey Batten in Council Chambers at the West Kelowna Municipal Hall, 2760 Cameron Road.

The Chief Election Officer is currently reviewing the documentation from the Referendum.

At the declaration, information regarding individual polling station numbers and ballot accounts will be available.

Sept. 17, 2016

Like previous referendums in West Kelowna, this one was also close.

Voters have rejected the city’s plan for a new city hall and civic plaza complex by a mere 27 votes.

The unofficial result of Saturday’s referendum asking for approval to borrow $7.7 million for the project was 4,212 against and 4,185 in favour of the borrowing. A total of 8,397 votes were cast, including on Saturday, in mail-in ballots and on two days of advance voting.

A total of just over 26,000 residents were eligible to vote.

Declaration of official results will occur on Wednesday, September 21.

The project would have been part of a larger development including three other privately owned buildings, one a commercial building housing Westside Interior Health services and two residential buildings.

The referendum result follows the defeat of a bid by the city to win approval to borrow $10 million for the project via the Alternative Approval Process earlier this year. City council dropped that amount to $7.7 million for the referendum and said it would use up to $7.1 million from city reserves to pay for the balance of the $14.8 million total project.

Despite the city saying the city hall project would not increase taxes or take money away from other municipal plans, the no campaign repeatedly said it would.

Opponents of the proposal said the new building—that was to be built on Elliott Road in Westbank on land the city already owns (but also required the purchase of a small amount of land owned by the developer of the rest of the site)—was in the wrong place, would cost too much and was being proposed at the wrong time.

The city argued the civic centre, as it dubbed it, was needed because the city staff has outgrown the makeshift city offices at the Mt. Boucherie’s recreation complex, more space is desperately needed and the new city-owned city hall would not only give it a building that would allow for growth in the future, it allow it to return the space currently used at Mt. Boucherie’s for recreation.