Catherwood annexation referendum is dead in the water

The province has denied Council’s request for a referendum on the Catherwood Road annexations.

In a letter to Council, Peter Fassbender, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, said there was not enough time for referendum to be held before March 4, which was the latest date a referendum could be held.

“I have considered your request for a Minister’s Order and the requirements of s. 167 of the Local Government Act under which the request is made,” Fassbender said his letter of February 23. “While I understand the challenging position the City finds itself in, I am not satisfied that special circumstances exist with regard to the boundary extension proposal and Revelstoke’s inability to meet the requirements of section 174(2)(b) of the Local Government Act. Given the elector response deadline date was December 16, 2016, assent voting would have needed to occur no later than March 4, 2017. As the City has made no preparation for such a vote, it does not appear that the Catherwood proposal can proceed in its current form.”

577 people signed the Alternative Approval Process petition to deny the annexation.

Fassbender also said he has approved a $30,000 “restructure planning grant” for the inventory of planning, service delivery and governance in the south Revelstoke area.

“It is my understanding that, once this study is complete, the City and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District will be in a better position to assess the broader implications of governance change in the lands south of Revelstoke,” he said.

Through the study’s proposed public engagement process, the City and Regional District will have the opportunity to hear a wide range of community perspectives in an “open and transparent process,” he said.

“Following completion of the study, Council will be in a better position to determine its approach to the Catherwood properties. For example, those properties could be brought forward as a new extension proposal, either as currently envisioned (but with new information in hand from the completed study), or in combination with other properties which may be found through the study to be suitable to be considered for inclusion in the City’s municipal boundary.”