I listened to Kelowna city staff and city councillors explain why using the Alternative Approval Process to obtain approval for a $242 million loan for a new Parkinson Recreation site (the other small projects are accounted for in the other $45 million of the project) and it is disingenuous.
There is no referendum because city officials do not want a referendum, period.
The way the ballot is designed, all the city had to do was change a few words in the question and add two boxes at the end of each of the five rows for signatures, one for a yes and one for a no. We would then have had a referendum for $2,500, not the $150,000 to $200,000 the city claims it would cost.
The reason the mayor, council and city staff do not want a referendum is because they have no project to show residents. There is no scale model, no renderings, no plans, no idea of the annual operating cost deficits residents will have to cover with taxes, interest costs fluctuating from $125 million to $220 million, so what do you sell to residents to get approval?
If the AAP form is good enough for those saying no to such an exorbitant price for a recreation centre, it is also appropriate for those saying yes to put down their personal information.
The current AAP should therefore be scrapped and a referendum held with the same form so the city is forced to show its hand. Until then, let’s keep trying to get those signatures, not to block a recreation centre, but to get what we need.