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City borrowing opposition process heads into final week

Residents wishing to vote against the city’s plan borrow $32.2 million for 11 capital projects projects through the alternative approval process have only seven days to complete and submit their elector response forms.

Residents have until 5 p.m. May 30 to obtain, fill in, sign and submit the forms to City Hall. A total of 5,546 signatures are needed, on each project, to force the city to either go to a referendum to borrow the money, fund the projects another way, or scrap the projects.

Phil Beaulieu, spokesperson for the group Enough Already, which has been working hard to have the projects rejected through the alternative approval process, says if all 11 are approved, homeowners will see a two per cent increase in property taxes for the next 20 years.

“It is unprecedented to borrow money for these types of operating and maintenance expenditures, having to service debt for these types of project is completely unsustainable,” he said. “City Hall has not projected an attitude of fiscal restraint and taxpayers must send a message that our pockets are not bottomless.”

Interest in the alternative approval process has been growing with lots of  elector response forms being pick ed up from City Hall and a huge spike in members and to the Enough Already Facebook group page, said Beaulieu.

The city is looking to borrow for the following 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

To make it as easy as possible for citizens to participate Enough Already volunteers have made the following opportunities available:

  • Downloadable forms that can be printed, hand signed scanned and submitted by email are available on the Enough Already! City of PG AAP Facebook group page.
  • Volunteers will have forms available and will accept completed forms at the Downtown Farmers Market Saturday May 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Volunteers will be at CN Centre parking lot Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will have forms available and will accept completed forms for submission to City Hall
  • • Tuesday and Wednesday, May 28 and 29 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. volunteers will also be available at City Hall back parking lot with forms and to accept completed forms to be submitted.

“We recognize this is a difficult process with 11 separate bylaws to defeat and with people having busy lives it’s important that we make it as easy as possible for residents to participate[ate in the process,” said Beaulieu.

Important information on ERF’s:

• Each form must be hand signed; electronic signatures will not be accepted

• Eligible voters must be at least 18 years old and residing in Prince George

• Multiple forms per address are accepted

• ERF’s submitted prior to April 18 will not be accepted

• Enough Already! is providing volunteers to print, distribute, and return forms for ease of access

For more information on how you can get involved and have your say in the City’s financial future, visit the Enough Already! Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/842927622705364/