Council for the Town of Pincher Creek, Alta, has rescinded a bylaw authorizing a construction loan for the town’s new curling rink, bending to a citizens’ petition that opposed the bylaw.
Council remains committed to the project, which narrowly cleared chambers in mid-February, and is still hoping to land a federal grant for up to 60 per cent of construction costs.
Addressing council at chambers Monday, legislative services manager Lisa Goss said the petition, which called for the borrowing bylaw to be put to a plebiscite, had been signed by just over 10 per cent of town residents and that petitioner Liz Dolman had met the necessary conditions laid out in Alberta’s Municipal Government Act.
This left council to decide between putting the build to a vote, or scrapping the bylaw.
Coun. Sahra Nodge, who voted against the build in February, motioned for the plebiscite.
Couns. Gary Cleland and Mark Barber, easily the build’s most ardent champions, joined Coun. Wayne Oliver in saying that taxpayers would very likely oppose a plebiscite, which Goss’s report estimated would cost between $14,000 and $19,000.
Nodge’s motion failed by a vote of 6-1, with the lone yes vote coming from Coun. David Green.
Council then unanimously voted through Barber’s motion to rescind the bylaw.
Dolman submitted her petition in early March with 394 signatures, 12 of which were struck because the signers gave addresses falling outside town limits.
The petition needed 362 valid signatures and ultimately received 382, Goss wrote in her report.
Asked for comment on the petition’s success, Dolman said she was pleased that the borrowing bylaw will not go ahead. But she was disappointed that the plebiscite won’t go ahead, either.
“It would’ve been an expensive challenge, but I thought it was appropriate,” she told Shootin’ the Breeze.
The bylaw had authorized council to take out a loan of up to $4 million.
Energy project lead Tristan Walker, who applied for the federal grant in February, said he hoped to have an answer from the grant funder by early summer.
By Laurie Tritschler, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on May 10, 2023
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