Cariboo Regional District offices in Williams Lake. (File photo)

Cariboo Regional District offices in Williams Lake. (File photo)

South Cariboo recreation referendum postponed to 2023

More time needed for communications and engagement, says CRD

A referendum for a proposed new recreation taxation area in the South Cariboo, originally set for June, has been postponed until next year.

In a release Friday afternoon, the Cariboo Regional District announced that the vote to create a new South Cariboo Recreation and Culture Service – which would include areas beyond Lone Butte, parts of Forest Grove and 108 Mile Ranch – would not take place this spring. Officials cited the need for “more informed decision making” by residents as the reason the referendum has been postponed to 2023.

“The decision was made based on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic impacts to communications and community face-to-face engagement plans that have not allowed full discussion and input of this proposed new service,” CRD chair and Area H director Margo Wagner said. “By postponing this until 2023, it will allow the community and any newly elected officials to participate in dialogue for future recreation considerations.”

This is the second time the referendum has been pushed back due to COVID. The CRD had initially planned to hold the vote in 2020, but the start of the pandemic in March of that year forced officials to delay it.

The proposed recreation service would have a proposed annual taxation limit of $3.75 million, which works out to a residential taxation rate of about $100 per $100,000 of assessed value. This would allow the CRD to establish a new recreational service that supports existing facilities, including the South Cariboo Rec Centre, Martin Exeter Hall, the soccer fields, and the beaches at 108 Mile Ranch, plus the ability to pay for new major projects, such as an aquatic centre.

Currently, the recreation boundaries end at 108 Mile and Lone Butte, which means residents outside those areas have to buy a $200 recreation pass to use CRD services. The proposed new service would include all of Areas G, H and L, which encompasses, Lac La Hache, Canim Lake and Interlakes.

No specific details were provided by the CRD as to when in 2023 the vote would tentatively take place.

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