The passing of two separate referendums, both of which involved tax increases, on Saturday (Sept. 7) was good news for the South Cariboo community.
While nobody likes to pay more taxes, the public vote in favour of the recreation bylaw amendment and a new search and rescue function will assist community growth and safety.
Providing annual funding for the South Cariboo Search and Rescue Society (SCSAR) was what some like to call a “no brainer.”
This group of volunteers has been providing both search and rescue services for a number of years in the South Cariboo and has received little in government grants and has been left to do most of its own fundraising.
Necessary equipment and training costs have accelerated over the years, and for less than $1 per $100,000 assessment, SCSAR can provide more training for its volunteers, as well as up-to-date equipment.
This will not only provide residents and visitors with better search and rescue services, but also allow the volunteers to move forward with public education.
Saturday’s preliminary vote totals on this referendum were 943 in support and 121 against.
The vote on the Cariboo Regional District’s recreation bylaw change to encompass more arts, cultural and sports activities under the CRD’s function (including the District of 100 Mile House) was much closer.
It also involved a stiffer increase at around $20 per $100,000 assessment, which is expected to reach around $62 per $100,000 assessment next year.
Preliminary numbers show this referendum passed with 571 in favour and 381 against.
Many people, who wanted to see this referendum pass, were worried the increase in taxes for folks outside of the District of 100 Mile House boundaries would not be looked upon favourably.
However, enough folks in favour of increasing sports, arts and cultural funding showed up to the polls to swing the pendulum in their favour.
This particular bylaw amendment has been five years in the making because it was realized that folks from the outlying communities were using the local recreation facilities in significant numbers, but District taxpayers were bearing the brunt of maintenance costs.
However, we think there is an important positive impact the passing of this referendum will have on our community.
The extra funding will help our youth and seniors become more engaged in our community, and it will help keep us all connected in the big 3 every community needs to prosper – sports, arts and culture.