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West Kelowna  

Narrow win for 'No' side

UPDATE: 10 p.m.

"Really there are no winners at this point."

That's the tempered reaction Saturday night from Ian Graham, spokesman for the group opposing borrowing millions for a new city hall in West Kelowna.

The 'No' side won a very narrow victory Saturday night.

He said the whole process has shone a spotlight on disunity in West Kelowna.

"A house divided against itself cannot stand," he told Castanet. "This is a town that needs to bring itself back to reality."

He said the city needs to "squeeze" five to 10 years out of the old city hall and focus on other shortfalls. However, Graham wouldn't be specific about what the municipality should prioritize.

West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater said he was disappointed by the results – though he stressed they are still only preliminary.

"I put my heart and soul into this – as did many others," he said in an interview.

In the meantime, the municipality will likely have to look at adding more portables "like a school that's growing in enrolment," he said.

"We'll have to roll up our sleeves and come up with a solution," said Findlater.

He praised the high voter turnout of 8,400 people, saying it shows there was strong support for a new city hall.

"But not enough," he said.


UPDATE: 9:35 p.m.

The unofficial results are in, and the 'No' side looks to have won a very narrow victory.

A tiny majority of West Kelowna eligible voters voted against borrowing up to $7.7 million for the construction of a new city hall and related project work.

It was a large turnout. A total of 8,397 votes were cast, including mail ballot and advance poll votes, with 4,185 in favour of the borrowing and 4,212 against.

Declaration of official results will occur on Wednesday.


UPDATE: 8:05 p.m.

Voting is now closed in the West Kelowna referendum.


ORIGINAL

West Kelowna voters go to the polls today to decide the fate of a new city hall.

Polls opened at 8 a.m. and voting continues until 8 p.m.

The contentious referendum asks residents if they're in favour of borrowing of up to $7.7 million to build a civic complex on Elliott Road.

The proposal has not been without controversy.

An alternate approval process to fund the venture was rejected by residents in May, and the cost of the project scaled back from $10.5 million.

The no side believes the city should use tax dollars for a water treatment plant and not a new city hall, while the yes side believes the project would revitalize downtown Westbank.

If approved, the borrowed funds would be repaid over 20 years.

Polling stations are at the following locations:

  • Constable Neil Bruce Middle School, 2010 Daimler Dr.
  • George Pringle Elementary School, 3770 Elliott Rd.
  • Glenrosa Middle School, 2974 Glen Abbey Pl.
  • Mar Jok Elementary School, 2101 McDougall Rd.

Voters must bring two pieces of identification, one with a signature and one with an address, to verify eligibility.

They must be: 18 or older, a Canadian citizen, a resident of B.C. for at least six months, a resident or property owner in the City of West Kelowna, and free from any disqualification from voting under the Local Government Act.

There are an estimated 26,034 eligible voters, and more than 3,100 already cast ballots at advance polls.

– Jon Manchester



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