Grand Forks carries watershed service referendum YES vote

The referendum passed with 1,535 votes.

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary referendum on the formation of a watershed service in the Boundary passed on Saturday, in large parts due to a resounding YES vote in the City of Grand Forks.

The referendum, which asks voters to approve the formation of the Boundary Integrated Watershed Service to a maximum tax requisition of $160,000 per year, was approved with 1,535 votes. There were 1,369 dissenting votes.

The service will be provided and administered by the RDKB, and everyone in the area, including those in municipalities within the RDKB, will be taxed for the service. The maximum requisition works out to $4.85 per $100,000 in property value.

However, many jurisdictions voted against the service on their own, despite the collective result in the Boundary. While the City of Grand Forks, the Village of Midway and Area C/Christina Lake all voted in favour, many areas voted against.

Area D/Rural Grand Forks voted against, 221 NO votes to 195 YES votes. By and large, voters in Area E also voted against: Bridesville, Rock Creek, Westbridge and Beaverdell all voted NO by margins of more than 50 per cent. Big White was the only Area E area that voted in favour, and it did so unanimously: all 24 ballots were in favour.

The City of Greenwood voted NO with 178 votes, to 144 YES votes.

Mail-in ballots, which were done separately, show six NO to three YES votes on Area C mail-in ballots, and the lone mail-in Area D ballot was a YES vote.

The referendum passed largely on the strength of the YES response in Grand Forks, where 60 per cent of ballots cast were in favour. Only 52 per cent of the total ballots were in favour.

Despite the numbers, all areas within the RDKB will be taxed for the service, regardless of whether each area voted YES or NO independently.

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