Letter: ‘No’ on AAP should be planned for

A short delay until support of a project is affirmed by referendum is a small inconvenience

‘No’ on AAP should be planned for

The bold title ‘AAP’ and article from the July 28 edition misses some important points in the story.

A successful challenge to the AAP process should or does not prejudge the merits of the project under consideration. A successful challenge should not delay the project or affect the outcome of the resulting plebiscite. Why is this? Because the process should have been accounted for in the planning. The extra time and cost to hold a plebiscite, should it be required, is a minor component of the overall proposal.

The Improvement District of Cowichan Bay has proposed a new firehall, and the planners would have fully accounted for the additional time it would take should the challenge be successful and the proposal go to referendum. The comment ‘to stop the project from moving ahead on its current timeline’ implies something has been missed. MS Stanley has acknowledged the concerns expressed by the AAP voters.

In any case, a short delay until support of a project is affirmed by referendum is a small inconvenience for the proponents. The delay should have little effect on the cost of the project or the time of its completion, and it would provide certainty that a consensus of ratepayers support it.

The opportunity to call for a larger sample by voting ‘no’ in an AAP is an essential voter (taxpayer) right. Only a full plebisite directly measures the level of community support for a significant expenditure of tax base funds. This a a special and valuable tool in the community planning process. Taxpayers should be able to comfortably vote ‘no’ to flag their concerns without feeling they have somehow undercut support for the outcome.

Michael Bapty

Maple Bay