The alternative approval process that will determine the fate of CRD Bylaw 4325 is nearing its conclusion.
The deadline for return of elector response forms expressing opposition to the bylaw is Monday, Dec. 9 at 4 p.m.
The bylaw would authorize the CRD to requisition up to $0.016 per $1,000 of assessed residential property value for the purpose of establishing a Community Safety Service on Salt Spring to a maximum of $65,000 island-wide.
Some 910 qualified voters (or 10 per cent of the electorate) must complete and return elector response forms to the Ganges or Victoria CRD offices by mail or in person in order to stop the tax from automatically being enacted by the CRD.
As explained in the Driftwood last month, Salt Spring CRD director Gary Holman has said the first-year budget of $30,000 would see $9,000 disbursed in grants to on-island organizations to better support and connect those in need to existing services; $7,000 for crime prevention measures such as Neighbourhood Watch and security cameras and lighting; and $4,000 for minute-taking and CRD financial accounting/reporting. The remainder of the budget would cover the cost of the alternative approval process required to pass the bylaw.
Forms must be returned to the CRD office in either Ganges (#108-121 McPhillips Ave.) or Victoria (625 Fisgard St.) by 4 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 9. The fact that the forms themselves indicate they must be returned to the Victoria office when that is apparently not true, and that the Ganges CRD office would not provide multiple copies of the form to individuals upon request has garnered widespread criticism.
“The Salt Spring AAP is a demonstration of the worst use of an AAP: confusing, poorly defined and failing to meet legislative requirements,” said Darcy Repen, former mayor of Telkwa, B.C. and a part-time Salt Spring resident, in a letter to the Driftwood.
Anyone qualified to vote in a CRD election can submit a completed form. Only one’s name, residential address and signature are required.
Forms are available at the Ganges CRD office, Salt Spring Public Library, the CRD website, Driftwood office and from individuals who are distributing them on the island. Gordon Lee will be on the sidewalk by the Ganges Fire Hall for the next few days handing out forms and speaking to people about the bylaw. Lee said he is not against the concept of the new service but does not approve of the method by which it is being brought in.
The bylaw could be put to a referendum, or abandoned, if more than 10 per cent of electors return the response form by 4 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 9.