The Village of Carbon will be going ahead with much-needed infrastructure repairs after a plebiscite where the voters championed the upgrades.
Earlier this year Carbon council brought forward a borrowing bylaw to take out a loan of $700,000 to undertake major infrastructure repairs However, a group of residents circulated a petition, which was deemed successful.
This led to a plebiscite on Tuesday, November 15. Residents were asked to vote either in favour or opposed to 2022-865 Borrowing Bylaw which read, “Plans and specifications have been prepared and the total cost of the Captial Replacement Program (CRP-Infrastructure repairs and replacement) is estimated to be $700,000 over 10 years with an interest rate of no greater than 6.5%.”
The result of the plebiscite showed 102 in favour, with 75 opposed to the bylaw. One ballot was left blank.
“Democracy has won, the people have spoken, they want their council to maintain or repair our infrastructure,” said Mayor Bryan Peever, noting the results show a clear direction from the residents.
The first reading of the bylaw was in June.
Peever says the council now has to pass second and third readings of the bylaw.
The delay may cost the municipality more in interest.
“When we initiated the bylaw we had an interest rate of around about 4.6 per cent. That is no longer the case as they have gone up. We are going to have to modify the bylaw in the second reading to reflect the new interest rate, and depending on where we can get the best interest rate,” said Peever.
“This petition that was put forward by this group will inevitably cost us about $100,000 in interest rates.”
He says, after they pass the bylaw, they will continue through their procurement policy and hope to get to work in the spring.
He notes he has heard from appreciative residents.
“I was talking to a few residents, and they said if we had lost this vote, they were leaving. A village that doesn’t maintain its infrastructure, they don't want to live there,” said Peever.