Voters get Sportsplex funding option

The Cowichan Valley Regional District board finalized a decision last week that will see voters in electoral areas cast ballots in a referendum to decide whether or not they want to fund the Cowichan Sportsplex.

However, a small but significant change from what the directors voted on at a regional services committee meeting in June will see the municipalities left out of the process.

At the regional services committee directors voted to go to referendum on the question area by area, with just one service establishment bylaw encompassing all nine of the electoral areas and the four member municipalities.

"It think the confusion comes with what happens as the outcome of the referendum if there are areas that do not pass it," said Deputy Corporate Secretary Kathleen Harrison.

Had directors gone ahead with everyone in a single bylaw, if the referendum failed in

one area, the entire referendum failed.

That’s because a single bylaw would depend upon all areas being part of it for the amounts stated in it to be applicable.

If some areas had opted out and the numbers changed, a change to the bylaw would have made it unclear whether the province would grant its approval without the district going back to another public approval process.

Directors chose to have staff draft individual service establishment bylaws for each of the nine electoral areas, which will be voted on at referendums in the fall.

"The clear principle was that each electoral area would have the opportunity to poll its public as to whether they wish to participate. It appears that this now makes this possible," summed up Shawnigan Lake director Bruce Fraser.

Under this formula, however, the municipalities have no obligation to go to referendum or participate in the funding. The matter has been forwarded to municipal councils for their consideration.