Resident calls Barriere Referendum a “fiasco”

letter to the editor from John Sibbelee, Barriere BC - referendum a fiasco

To the editor;

The Referendum taken in Barriere is done, it’s over.  If council and mayor had been forthright, possibly it would not have come to this negative outcome.  For eight years, since incorporation, no plan was put in place – at least not one that was made public.  Suddenly it was decided by council and mayor that the best course of action was to hit property owners up, at $1300 a piece, no information, no input, no referendum, just a vote by counsellors to pass this motion for a by-law.

“Hosting a referendum is expensive… usually adds up to thousands of dollars….”

Here’s the thing; if you do not subscribe to this newspaper, if you do not have a computer or e-mail, you are left out of the District’s information loop.  So much for your transparency and accountability, Mr. Mayor.

This too, as it turns out, was only one phase of this project.  When asked at the meeting of May 15, 2013, how many phases could be expected, no clear answer could be given.

When questions were asked regarding costs of these next phases, the answers were vague.  Your numbers regarding the number of property owners went from 946 to 1500 to 1377, depending on which piece of paper from the District, or article in this newspaper you read.  You expected people in Barriere to make an informed decision on misinformation put out by your own group and this newspaper.

You had your referendum, you lost, and because of your mismanagement, lack of planning, lack of information, lack of factual numbers, the people of Barriere also lost.  This fiasco probably cost more than it was worth.

By the way Madam Editor, regarding the outcome of the referendum: 201 voted no, 187 voted yes – does not add up to 338.

Finally, Mr. Mayor, re: your comments on the referendum outcome:

Council passed a motion “that Colleen Hannigan, CAO, who has significant experience working municipal elections and has taken the election training provided by the local government management association (LGMA) be appointed chief election officer.”

“Tasha Buchanan, Administration Assistant, who has also taken the LGMA election training be appointed deputy chief election officer.”

You, Mr. Mayor, are now second guessing these folks, because the referendum didn’t go your way.

As far as the Mayor is concerned re: popularity, you cannot blame your own unpopularity on vocal residents or previous elected officials, it could be, through some of your actions, your column which spouts your arrogance, that you are just unpopular.

John Sibbelee

Barriere, B.C.

*Editor’s note:  The Star/Journal notes that due to an unfortunate typing error the number of total ballots ballots cast in the Referendum was reported as 338, when in fact it should have read 388.  We apologize for any confusion this may have caused in the reporting of the vote.

The District of Barriere confirms the following numbers in relation to the Referendum Bylaw #102:  946 is the number of tax rolls or properties affected;  and 1,377 is the number of those who were eligible to vote in the referendum.  However, we have been unable to confirm where the number “1500” was provided in relation to the Referendum.