Petitions against borrowing fall well short of threshold

Opposition to the City's proposals to borrow as much as $32.2 million to pay for 11 projects fell well short of the threshold to force referendums on the items.

Under the alternative approval process, 5,546 elector response forms - adding up to 10 per cent of the city's electorate - had to be submitted to take a proposal to the next level but the best a campaign against the items could do was 2,967 according to results posted Wednesday.

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Mayor Lyn Hall said the outcomes give council the mandate to pass all 11 bylaws through final reading when they're up for consideration on Monday night.

Hall acknowledged the opposition that had been raised.

"It's obvious that we need to continue to get out and talk about infrastructure needs in our city, talk about the position we're in as a city when it comes to the infrastructure deficit in our community," Hall said.

But he also said the outcome shows support for the projects.

"There are folks in the community who continue to believe that we need to continue with the infrastructure upgrades because of the deficit we're seeing in it, both below and above ground," Hall said.

Eric Allen, one of the key organizers of the Enough Already campaign against the bylaws, was left puzzled by the outcome.

"I thought we'd actually be over," he said when given the news.

He estimated about 5,000 petitions for each proposal were handed out during the campaign and suggested there may have been a significant number of rejects. However, according to a staff report, the counts ranged from 33 to 49 depending on the project.

The process had been described as onerous because of the number of projects up for consideration and the requirement that the forms be submitted during city hall's business hours.

Had the counts been close to the threshold, Allen had said there was a chance opponents could argue in favour of taking the items to referendum. But given the margins, Allen said Wednesday he doubts council will do anything but give final readings.

"They'll probably think it's far enough away that they won't have to do that," he said.

Here's an item-by-item look at the outcomes with rejections in brackets: $2.9 million for equipment purchases 2,913 (34); $1.4 million for phase two of mausoleum expansion 2,825 (49); $4.7 million for civic facilities roof replacements 2,850 (49); $10.2 million for Aquatic Centre renewal and upgrade 2,901 (46); $2.7 million for Masich Stadium amenities refurbishment 2,903 (43); $1.7 million for phases two and three of Ron Brent Park redevelopment 2,967 (44); $1.2 million for upgrades along 14th Avenue from Irwin Street to Freeman Street 2,897 (41); $500,000 for traffic signals at Domano Boulevard and St. Lawrence Avenue/Gladstone Drive 2,756 (43); $800,000 for upgrades to Highway 16 frontage road from Heyer Road to Henry Road 2,795 (40); $1.1 million to replace culvert at Goose Country Road 2,850 (34); $5 million to replace 600 street lights and traffic signals 2,797 (33).

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