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Voters to decide fate of Vernon arena project in coming days

Conceptual drawing of the proposed twinning expansion at Kal Tire Place. (Design shows what the expansion might look like if the referendum is successful.)
Image Credit: Contributed
November 26, 2015 - 6:30 PM

VERNON - Voters will have their say on a new arena this Saturday, but as they prepare to head to the polls, over 2,000 people have already cast their ballots in advance polls.

“I think those numbers are even better than the general municipal election we had,” Vernon mayor Akbal Mund says. “That’s encouraging in itself.”

Exactly 2,544 votes were cast during two advance voting days. The turnout is similar to that in the 2013 sports track referendum, which saw 2,668 people make use of advance polls. There are approximately 45,000 eligible voters in Greater Vernon, putting the arena referendum turnout, so far, at about 5.6 per cent. Total voter turnout in the sports track referendum was about 18 per cent.

“We do encourage everybody to get out and vote, whether you want to vote yes or no that’s up to you,” Mund says.

He says slight line-ups did form at City Hall during advance voting, but that everybody "got through pretty quick."

If the referendum fails, Greater Vernon would be left with the Civic Arena, which government officials describe as an aging money pit that could break down at any time. 

“It’s past it’s time,” Mund says. “If you had a $5,000 car and were making $3,000 in repairs, would you keep the car, or buy a new one? You’d probably buy a new one.”

Voters are being asked to support borrowing up to $13.2 million to build a replacement ice sheet for Civic Arena at Kal Tire Place. Advocates say the project would provide a more reliable ice sheet for user groups like Greater Vernon Minor Hockey, while also expanding the city’s capacity to host tournaments and other events.

Mund says the proposal has been in the works since September 2013, and hopes to see the public endorse it.

General voting takes place this Saturday, Nov. 28 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at any of the following locations:

BX Elementary School – Gymnasium, 5849 Silver Star Road, Vernon
Coldstream Elementary School – Gymnasium, 10104 Kalamalka Road, Coldstream
Ellison Elementary School – Gymnasium, 2400 Fulton Road, Vernon
Silver Star Elementary School – Gymnasium, 1404 – 35 Avenue, Vernon
Vernon Recreation Complex – Auditorium, 3310 – 37 Avenue, Vernon

More voting information and details about the project can be found here.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724. 

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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