The referendum won’t be the end of it

The weekly editorial for the 100 Mile Free Press

The South Cariboo Rec Centre expansion vote is coming up on June 9 and if there’s one thing that’s clear, it’s that the “decisive” referendum vote will be anything but the end of it; it is not the end of the story but more like the beginning of a new chapter.

Based on the survey done by the Cariboo Regional District, as well as some unofficial polling done earlier in the year by the 100 Mile Free Press the community is pretty split on whether they want to go ahead with this or not.

We still get the occasional letter about past referendums where the outcome was much more decisive than this one is setting out to be. Should the current proposal get the go-ahead in the referendum, the pool supporters will feel forever wronged having not gone to a referendum on a pool. The opposition to the currently proposed expansion won’t just disappear.

Should the project be rejected, it’s back to the drawing board to begin the whole process all over again, whether that starts immediately or a few years down the line.

Furthermore, if it does get the go-ahead in the referendum, depending on the margin of victory, we may well see some of those on the South Cariboo Joint Committee (SCJC), who supported going to referendum, fight to stop the project.

Which brings me to the second thing that’s clear; to some, the details aren’t clear.

There seems to be a belief among some that because the SCJC approved going to referendum, that those on the SCJC are all in favour of the project. This certainly isn’t the case. Sitting in on the meeting where the decision was made, it seemed some of them had putting the proposal to bed on their mind as much as anything else.

Additionally, in recent days, there seems to be some confusion on advertising related to the referendum, from what is or what isn’t considered advertising to what needs to be done to be allowed to advertise.

Other instances have included confusion on voting boundaries, scrutineers, conflicts of interest and more.

Based on the current situation, it’s probably fair to say that not going to a referendum on a pool in the past was a mistake regardless of what the outcome of that may have been.

Whether you believe a mistake was made in the past, that our politicians have an anti-pool agenda or are making the right decisions based on the available information, be prepared to continue having these conversations irrespective of the outcome of this referendum.

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