A determined proponent of Lake Cowichan being part of the "pool group" of municipalities is urging residents of his community to vote in an informal poll being held until July 2. The poll is being held by Lake Cowichan’s council to take the pulse of the community, but Ted Gamble said he’s worried people may be complacent and not bother to voice their opinions.
"Registered voters only have until July 2 at 4 p.m. to cast a ballot for an extension of the equal access privileges we are presently enjoying at the Cowichan Aquatic Centre, otherwise known as the Duncan pool," he said.
Cowichan Lake has equal access to the CAC until Dec. 31, 2014.
The town is talking about continuing that through 2015-2018 and is taking a straw poll.
"At issue is the annual taxed average of $1.38 per household, which allows Lake Cowichan citizens access the CAC for a reasonable rate of admission. This small amount of tax dollars goes a long way to help our middle class families access to a multi-million dollar aquatic centre, a short drive from town," Gamble said.
"As our community does not have a large enough tax base to support our own pool, contributing to the CAC makes good financial sense for the long term aquatic needs of all Lake Cowichan citizens now and in the future," he said.
"We’ve told people and given them until tax time to go in to the office and vote," said Lake Cowichan Mayor Ross Forrest. "It’s not a binding referendum or anything. It’s just a guideline for us to go on, showing if the public likes the idea or doesn’t like the idea. The vote will just help us with our decision."
Councillors have been split on the issue and "some of them thought we should let the public have some say in it, which they should. But we didn’t want to pay for a referendum on it and this offers us another opportunity to see what the public thinks. It’s not official," Forrest reiterated.
Gamble is not sure about that and wants to ensure pool supporters get in and vote at the town office anyway. Municipal office staff offer property owners a chance to vote when they go in to pay their taxes in person but not everybody pays in person, he said.
He himself did a couple of information sessions in front of Country Grocer in Lake Cowichan and found there’s uncertainty out there.
"A lot of people don’t know about it. Also a lot of people who do know think that, because we’ve got the year, that it’s a done deal forever. I don’t think that’s so. I just want to make sure people know. This vote will be discussed in some manner within council and its final tally will have some bearing on what happens. So, I’m trying to get as many people out to vote as I can," he said.