What the heck is a Plebiscite?

As part of the Municipal Election being held in October, the Village of Canal Flats is asking electors to vote on a plebiscite.

A plebiscite is a non-binding question to eligible voters on an issue that affects the municipality. The process is similar to assent voting (formerly known as a referendum). The questions posed are usually yes or no and function as an advisory of public opinion.

In this instance, the Village is seeking public opinion on whether or not to begin the process of the construction of a new community hall.

The Canal Flats Civic Centre A-frame was originally constructed in 1967 as part of the Canadian Centennial Project and an addition was added in 1980. The community hall hosts a variety of community events, weddings, funerals, Senior’s Centre and Food Bank.

A structural engineering report was prepared for the Village of Canal Flats in 2008 which identified many deficiencies in the building. However, the report concluded that with regular improvements and maintenance carried out, the lifespan of the facility could be another 15-20 years from that date.
The Village has undertaken many of the projects identified in the report over the last 14 years and the building remains a good community asset. However, based on the report, planning for a replacement of the hall should be considered. The process could take many years to complete.

The first step would be to retain professional services to prepare engineered drawings for construction of the new hall. Part of the design process would include public engagement events, surveys, etc to identify wants and needs of the public. A previous cost estimate for the plans in January 2022 was $32,700. The detailed costs and plans for construction could then be used for grant applications or a loan authorization bylaw. If a loan is necessary, an assent vote by the electors would be required.

A “yes” vote does not guarantee the construction of a new community hall. And alternatively, a “no” vote does not guarantee that plans are not prepared or that a new hall will not be constructed. The information obtained will provide guidance to staff and Council during the budgeting process for the 5 year Financial Plan.

For more information, please contact Richard Wayken, CAO at 250-349-5462