Telkwa Mayor Carman Graf is disappointed in a community decision not to allow the Village to borrow up to $1 million to renovate their new municipal office, the old meat co-op building at the corner of Hankin Avenue and Highway 16.
That being the case, he’s not bitter over the community’s decision.
“I’m quite disappointed but I believe in democracy. That’s what the people want. That’s all we can do about it,” he said.
The referendum in Telkwa, which asked “Are you in favour of the Village of Telkwa borrowing a sum not exceeding one million dollars to finance the purchase and renovation of the North West Premium Meat Co-op building and lands at 1415 Hankin Avenue and adjacent Lots 7,8,9 Block C,”, failed with 181 votes against it, and 111 in favour.
Graf isn’t quite sure what it is specifically that turned people off from the proposal in particular, but active voting from one camp and low-turnout in another may have been a factor.
“It looks to me like the ‘no’ vote got out and voted and the ‘yes’ vote were kind of complacent,” he said.
According to his numbers, he said 20 per cent of the eligible voters participated in the referendum.
He doesn’t know what the Village will do now with the building but thinks it’s likely that they’ll just do renovations in stages over a period of time, an option he isn’t too happy with.
“The thing that bothers me the most is when you piece meal something it costs twice as much than if you do it all at once,” he said. “We might have to do that though.”
The old municipal office is still slated to be demolished at some undetermined time in the future.
More than the referendum, however, Graf is disappointed with such a low voter turn out. While online at civicinfo.bc.ca the numbers indicated a 35 per cent voter turnout, Graf said the number is more accurately around 29 per cent turnout.
“I’m really disappointed in that,” he said. “I think people need to start paying a little more attention to things. We just had a Remembrance Day here where we remembered a lot of people who died to give us the right to vote and people don’t seem to adhere to that.”
He said people need to realize if they don’t get out to vote, they “get what they get.”
That isn’t at all to say he isn’t happy with who has made it to Telkwa’s council table. He’s confident in the experience the returning and new councillors will bring to the community discussion.
“I think we’ll be okay.”
He said over the last three year term Telkwa has had a good council, and despite some early differences they came together to work for the community.