AAP loan proposal gains voter approval

Mayor Lee Pratt says the city will be using $10 million towards road rehabilitation next summer.

  • Nov. 3, 2016 3:00 p.m.
Mayor Lee Pratt is pushing back against a campaign of misinformation on a proposal to borrow $10 million for road and infrastructure upgrades.

Mayor Lee Pratt is pushing back against a campaign of misinformation on a proposal to borrow $10 million for road and infrastructure upgrades.

The Alternative Approval Process for a proposed $10 million loan has been approved by Cranbrook voters and will move forward, confirmed the city on Wednesday.

The deadline for elector response forms passed on Oct. 31 and while results haven’t been made official, the measure had 95 per cent approval from voters.

The final tally of elector response forms will be made public at an upcoming city council meeting on Nov. 7 at city hall.

“I’m very pleased with the results, that shows 95 per cent of electors endorsed the borrowing proposal,” said Cranbrook Mayor Lee Pratt. “The decision at election time was they wanted the roads fixed, so they’re standing by that and we are, too.”

With the money now confirmed, the city will be moving forward with a plan to do a full reconstruction of 2nd St. South from Highway 3/95 through to 10th Ave. South with repaving from 10th Ave. South through to 14th Ave. South.

“It’s pretty much finalized now that we have the funding,” Pratt said. “It had to be done, no matter what, so now that we have that funding in place, we know that we can do that this year, plus we can continue to do other road work that needs attention.”

That project is budgeted between $6 million to $7 million, and the remainder of the $10 million loan will go into other road construction projects prioritized in an asset management plan.

The $10 million loan proposal was first floated last winter by city council and was adopted into a bylaw in June before going to the province for government approval.  The fate of the proposal rested on a window for public feedback through elector response forms; if less than 10 per cent of electors responded, the loan would move forward.

If more than 10 per cent of electors opposed it, then it would have died in council chambers or the city could have gone to referendum, which Pratt said he was going to do if it failed.

The proposal did have some opponents, as Wendell Dalke organized a campaign against the loan, arguing that it would create an unnecessary tax burden for the next 20 years.

The city argues that it is imperative to tackle the local infrastructure deficit, which tops roughly $100 million, according to Pratt. The $10 million loan will go a long way to improving road safety, pedestrian accessibility, and vehicle mobility, improved response capability and storm water management, says the city.

Additionally, the city says there is an economic advantage to fixing road and underlying infrastructure as luring new industries and business to the area can be challenging if they see a large infrastructure deficit.