On Our Own

Posted on August 22, 2011


Numerous people have written to the Inspector of Municipalities to try to get an inquiry into the seemingly irregular affairs of the Princeton Aquatic Centre Referendum. These letters appear to have met with deaf ears, but one person finally got a much belated response. It would appear that Area H will not get much sympathy for the perceived irregularities from that quarter. Nevertheless, here is the e-mail in it’s entirety so that readers can see for themselves what Victoria thinks of our situation. Note that it was an executive assistant who finally responded.

Thank you for your emails of July 11, July 19, and August 5, 2011, regarding your
concerns about the proposed Princeton Aquatic Centre.

I understand that the Regional District of Okangan-Similkameen (Regional District)
is proposing that an aquatic centre be constructed that would benefit citizens in
both the Town of Princeton and Electoral Area H. The electors in both areas will
be able to decide whether the proposal will proceed by voting at a referendum to
be held on September 24, 2011.

The role of the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development (Ministry)
in this matter is to review the bylaws passed by the Regional District that, if
adopted, will allow the proposal to proceed. The review is undertaken to ensure
that the bylaws have been enacted in accordance with the legislative requirements.
The Ministry does not comment on the merits of the proposal as this is a matter
that is within the jurisdiction of the Regional District to decide. The Regional
District is represented by directors who are democratically elected, responsible
and accountable. They are in the strongest position to weigh the needs of the
community and to make informed decisions for the benefit of the citizens.

The system depends on the ability of your locally elected representatives to
balance their vision for the community with the concerns expressed by the people
and organizations that are affected by their decisions. In this regard, I
understand that due to concerns from the community, the Regional District recently
decided that a separate referendum will be held in Princeton and in Electoral Area
H. If the vote fails in both jurisdictions, the proposal cannot proceed. If the
vote passes in only one of the jurisdictions, the Regional District will need to
assess whether the proposal will still be financially viable.

I understand that concerns have also been raised by some residents about the
fairness of the eligibility rules for voting. The voting rules apply to local
government referenda as well as the election of local government mayors,
councillors and electoral area directors. There is no ability for the Regional
District to change the voter eligibility requirements.

I can confirm that the Regional District’s bylaws have been reviewed and that they
meet the legislative requirements. It will now be up to a majority of the
electors to decide the merits of the Princeton Aquatic Centre.

Thank you again for writing.


Mike Furey

Mike Furey
Assistant Deputy Minister
Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development

Susan Konkin on behalf of Mike Furey
Executive Assistant
Local Government Department
Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development