Vanderhoof is one stroke closer to their own pool.
The voters of Vanderhoof turned out in record numbers for Saturday's town council by-election and pool referendum giving overwhelming approval for council to build a new aquatic centre.
Unofficial results had 1,562 ballots cast, a more than 50 per cent turnout, with people voting for the pool 1,207 to 353. Two voters didn't mark their ballots on the issue.
"The yes side can say they definitely got a clear mandate," said Tom Clement, chief election officer in Vanderhoof.
In addition to the Vanderhoof vote, ballots were also cast in the rural area surrounding the community known as Area F of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako where the result was also favourable, 575 to 472, with the majority of the opposition from the community of Cluculz Lake.
Clement, who has served as chief election officer three times in Vanderhoof, said the more than 50 per cent turnout was the highest count since he's been involved and it was clear what pushed people to exercise their democratic right.
"There were 125 voters who didn't cast a vote for council but did vote for the referendum,"said Clement. "Definitely the referendum was the push on this.
"It was good to see that many people out and witness democracy in action," he added. "Vanderhoof was obviously engaged with this issue."
By a margin of more than two to one John Murphy was easily voted in as the new councilor replacing Louise Levy whose resignation triggered the by-election. Murphy received 782 votes while Peet Vahi had 336 and Marje Makow had 319.
Clement said he didn't believe Makow's opposition to the pool impacted the election result.
"I know Marje did speak against it but that was more as a citizen she didn't try to make it an election issue," said Clement. "She might've turned a couple people off but I think John is just well known in town and a popular guy. People like him."
He added that Murphy was an avid volunteer in Vanderhoof and had done a lot of work with seniors housing.
The next council meeting in Vanderhoof where Murphy could be sworn in is Feb. 25.
The pool issue was a divisive issue because the district council wanted to hike property taxes more than 19 per cent to finance a $4 million loan to pay its share of the projected $12 million aquatic centre. The rest of the money is expected to come from other government sources in addition to corporate and private donations.
For more coverage of the Vanderhoof by-election and referendum see Tuesday's Citizen as reporter Peter James is in Vanderhoof today.