The District of Metchosin is adding a referendum question on its election ballot this November – and Coun. Larry Tremblay is 24 beer richer.
When the results of a municipal survey were revealed, council learned 65 per cent of Metchosin residents who responded are in favour of voting on if detached secondary suites should or should not be allowed in the district.
District staff mailed surveys to all eligible voters in the district in February. Staff recovered 729 valid surveys. Three surveys were spoiled, 24 surveys had respondents were not on the voters list and could not be contacted, and seven duplicate surveys were entered.
“A strong percentage of people completed this survey,” said Mayor John Ranns. “We had a 20 per cent return. Most municipalities would expect a four per cent return.”
Mayor and council added a friendly wager to the survey – each anted a six-pack of beer and predicted the percentage of “yes” answers.
Tremblay predicted 65 per cent and when the results were revealed during the council meeting on March 21, six packs and a couple IOUs were passed across the table.
“We did this to get the question out of the way,” Ranns remarked. “We didn’t do this so Coun. Tremblay could get some new beer.”
With the results, council immediately requested District staff organize a series of public roundtable discussions on detached suites and to destroy the surveys.
“I’ve knocked on every door in Metchosin in the last two campaigns. There is a lot of interest out there,” Tremblay said. “I wanted to bring this referendum at election time so there is no cost and that way everyone gets to vote.”
“I think a lot of people voted ‘yes’ (in the survey) so we could get through the process so they could vote ‘no’ (in the referendum),” Ranns said.
The question for the ballot has not been penned, but Ranns said will be more than a simple “yes” or “no” question.
“It will be specific enough that the next council has to follow it,” Ranns said. “Residents hold their politicians feet to fire so the question might as well be a binding question.”
The roundtable discussions will be held at Metchsoin council chambers 4450 Happy Valley Rd., May 1, 2 to 4 p.m. and May 3 and 4 from 7 to 9 p.m.
More information will be available on the roundtable discussions in mid-April. All in attendance must pre-register by calling the District at 250-474-3167 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.