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Group seeks to challenge city borrowing plan

The city’s move to borrow close to $32 million for capital projects may be challenged through the alternative approval process.

A Facebook group called “Enough Already! City of PG AAP” has been created with the goal of launching an official alternative approval process.

“This is the start of a process to acquire the required votes to defeat the City of Prince George’s motion to borrow $32.2 million,” according to a post on the page. “It is time to send a message that continuous borrowing coupled with constant tax increases well above the rate of inflation is not sustainable.”

During the February 25 meeting of Prince George city council passed the first two readings of a bylaw to borrow roughly $32 million from the Municipal Finance Authority for various capital projects:

  • $10,205,000 for repairs and upgrades to the Aquatic Centre including the building envelope
  • $5,000,000 to replace critical street lights and traffic signals
  • $4,670,450 to replace roofs at aging civic facilities such as the SPCA, 1310 3rd Avenue, City Yard mechanical bay, Kin 2, Kin 3, Two Rivers Gallery, Agriplex, Civic Centre, Senior’s Activity Centre, and CN Centre.
  • $2,919,583 for the replacement of City vehicles and equipment
  • $2,701,000 for repairs and upgrades to Masich Place Stadium
  • $1,675,000 to further redevelop Ron Brent Park
  • $1,400,000 to expand the mausoleum at the Memorial Park Cemetery
  • $1,200,000 for 14th Avenue Upgrades (Irwin Street to Freeman Street)
  • $1,100,000 to replace a failing culvert on Goose Country Road
  • $800,000 for the Highway 16 West Frontage-Heyer Road to Henry Road Project
  • $500,000 for new traffic signals at the Domano and St. Lawrence intersection

The city will now seek approval for these borrowing bylaws from the BC Inspector of Municipalities, which will initiate an Alternative Approval Process. This is expected to begin on April 18, 2019.  Subsequently, residents who oppose any of the proposed projects will have until 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 30, 2019 to submit elector response forms.

If 10 per cent or more of eligible electors sign and submit response forms, local governments cannot proceed with the borrowing without first holding a referendum.

The process is rigged to make it as difficult as possible to vote this down and a concerted effort by many people will be required to accomplish this herculean task,” reads the Enough Already post.

The Facebook page was not created the pros or cons of whether the city should borrow the money, but simply as a communication point for those seeking to gather the required number of signatures.