Win for No side in West Kelowna city hall borrowing referendum made official

Losing Yes side has until Monday to request a judicial recount but has not said if it will make such a request.

West Kelowna chief election officer Tracey Batten made it official Tuesday

It’s official. West Kelowna’s city hall borrowing referendum was defeated by 27 votes.

Chief election officer Tracey Batten announced the official result Wednesday afternoon, the same result that was made public 90 minutes hours after the polls closed on Saturday night—4,212 votes opposing the borrowing and 4,185 votes for it.

Batten said while the vote was “audited” over the last three days by city staff, a line-by-line review of all votes did not take place because, she said, that is not required under the Local Government Act.

“The ballots were not recounted,” she told a packed West Kelowna council chamber Wednesday.

She said the provincial rules governing referendums do allow a voter to call for a judicial recount if he or she feel the ballots were not counted properly or there was improper voting. But, she said, that request must be made within nine days of the vote taking place. That would mean, if a judicial recount is to be asked for, it must be done by next Monday.

Peter Wannop, co-chair of the Yes campaign, said no decision had been made about calling for a judicial recount but he said he had calls into the province to gather information he feels he would need to make such a decision.

Batten said as far as the city is concerned, the issued is now closed.

“I have officially reported the result,” she said.

Speaking Tuesday night after the West Kelowna council meeting, Mayor Doug Findlater, who campaigned hard to win approval of the request to borrow $7.7 million for the $14.8 million civic centre project, said he felt it was time to move on from the vote.

He said while he was personally disappointed in the result, the public had spoken and the city has many other issues to deal with.

Findlater was not at Tuesday’s official result announcement.

West Kelowna chief administrative officer Jim Zaffino said city staff will now put together a report for council detailing options for expanding space at the existing municipal offices at the Mt. Boucherie recreation complex.That report will go to council Oct. 11.

The new city hall was sought because the staff of the nine-year-old city has outgrown the existing facilities.

The city hall project would have also provided a civic plaza and returned the space currently used by the city for offices for recreation.

The city predicted the civic centre complex would have also spurred economic growth in the floundering Westbank town centre.

The city hall building, part of a larger complex of four buildings in total—three of which would have been privately owned—was to include space for a consolidation of Interior Health’s Westside services in one the buildings. The other two were to be residential.

Rob Moyor of Strategic Development Group, the private developer that would have built the three privately owned buildings and which owns most of the land at the Elliott Road site in Westbank, said his company will now look at developing the land on its own. It could be solely residential buildings on the site, he said.

The inclusion of Inteiror Health was contingent on the city hall being built on the site, he said.

There’s no word yet on what the city will do with the land it owns at the site. That land was to have housed the new city hall.

Ian Graham, who lead the No side in the referendum, said after the result was made official that he is not sure if it really is now over.

“I think this could be the beginning of the end,” he said. “But in this town, I don’t know if it is ever done.”

 

A breakdown of the polling results shows the No vote was stronger in the second day of advance polling and at three of the four polls on Saturday—Const. Neil Bruce Middle School, Glenrosa Middle School and Mar Jok Elementary in Rose Valley. The Yes vote was stronger only at the George Pringle Elementary in Westbank.

 

 

Just Posted

Okanagan Wildfires: An afternoon update on wildfires and evacuations

A Sunday afternoon look at the major wildfires impacting the Okanagan and Similkameen.

Mediation talks break off in casino strike

Gateway and BCGEU have no new date set for mediation

Motorcyclist taken to hospital following crash near Vernon

Extent of injuries not yet known following motorcycle in ditch on Commonage Road Sunday, July 22

All-Indigenous teams break new ground, making BC Games history

This is the first time there have been dedicated Indigenous teams at the BC Summer Games

Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria

There are fears the volunteers would become a target for government troops

Francesco Molinari wins British Open at Carnoustie

It is his first win at a major and the first by an Italian

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

ZONE 2: Okanagan twins bring ultimate competition to the BC Games

Brothers Connor and Holden Berrisford are each other’s main motivators

Recovery high schools could help teens before addiction takes hold: B.C. parents

Schools could provide mental health supports and let parents discuss their children’s drug use openly

Haida Gwaii village faces housing crisis, targets short-term rentals

Housing is tight and the village is pretty close to zero vacancy

B.C. VIEWS: Unions regain control of public construction

B.C.’s 40-year battle swings back to international big labour

B.C. mining company, involved in 2014 spill, ordered to pay lost wages

Mount Polley Mining Company must pay wages to 26 employees who were laid off without proper notice

Most Read