Port Alberni residents are going to get to vote on a referendum about a Roger Creek crossing in this year’s election.
City council voted 4-3 at their Feb. 11 meeting in favour of a non-binding referendum. The referendum question will read: “Do you support a 10th Avenue bridge crossing over Roger Creek with funding of $12 million from borrowing resulting in tax increases to the average homeowner of approximately $130 per year for 25 years?”
A report from city clerk Davina Hartwell noted that the $12 million cost for the bridge is approximate and actual costs could be higher. As well, there is no funding available from senior governments for the project. And others such as a new pool and waterfront industrial road are more of a priority than a bridge.
Mayor John Douglas and councillors Cindy Solda and Dan Washington voted against the move. Douglas was blunt in his opposition. “We don’t need a bridge across Roger Creek at 10th Avenue,” he said. “It’s a great idea that’s really expensive that doesn’t warrant a referendum.”
Without solid direction afterward the referendum is moot, Washington said. “Without a binding recommendation we don’t have a case.”
The referendum would get people talking, Coun. Rob Cole said. Council also doesn’t have a crystal ball where grants are concerned and chance favours the prepared.