After receiving a few emails describing the Alternative Approval Process as undemocratic I felt it was time someone spoke up in support of our council’s proposal.
The new fire hall was an election issue last November and the majority of the elected council (at least four of the five) stated that they were in favour of the plan to build the new public security building on the planned site. They were very open about this during the election and during the planning process over the previous year. Our fire services are also good quality and are provided at a very reasonable cost.
Of View Royal’s 6,969 eligible voters, 27 per cent (1,943 votes) of the residents turned out to cast their vote for council. The average councillor in View Royal was elected by a mere 17 per cent of the electorate or 1,183 votes. This reflects the low level of electorate engagement in the Town of View Royal or anywhere in the Captial Regional District for that matter. Taking this to a referendum will not be a representative vote.
History has shown that mostly people with strong opinions get involved in community matters – and usually if they are against what is being proposed. The proposed path being taken by council is, in my opinion, the best option under the acceptable democratic processes available to them.
My prediction on a referendum: the town will spend $25,000 for the referendum and less than 500 votes will be cast. Turn out will be dismal as the referendum will not be accompanied by a vote for council. The “no”s will win by a slim margin, resulting in less than 300 voters making the decision for the whole community. Personally, I voted for most of these councillors to do the job they campaigned to do – one was to replace the fire hall. I don’t want my vote in the last election to go “out the door”, so to speak.
In my opinion, council has done an excellent job in analyzing the options and informing and trying to engage the public on what they are doing. There have been multiple open houses, a very informative website, mail outs to each household and ads in the local newspaper. I support council’s actions and direction.