Referendum before spending

An open letter to Salmon Arm 's Mayor and council concerning the borrowing of funds for an underpass at Ross Street.

An open letter to Salmon Arm’s mayor and council:

I can’t begin to tell you just how disappointed and surprised I was to learn of your decision to expend the sum of $500,000 from the ‘Underpass DCC Fund’ on design of the proposed structure during 2017 before holding a referendum in 2018 regarding the proposed CPR crossing at Ross Street.

No matter how you spin it, this expenditure from whatever source, continues to show that this council has a serious bias in favour of proceeding with this gold-plated and unproven crossing under the CPR tracks which is as yet unquantified as to cost ($15 million?) before holding a referendum to approve/reject this project in 2018.

By expending these funds you have effectively succeeded in poisoning what should be an impartial atmosphere surrounding the proposed referendum.

Frankly, I for one, am tired of having the word ‘underpass’ used to describe this proposed crossing when an overpass may well be a more feasible and affordable solution.

I will readily admit that some sort of grade-separated crossing is necessary and one shouldn’t need the expense of a referendum to prove this; however, for the past 15 or more years this proposal has been referred to as an underpass as the only option, and this is indeed extremely short-sighted.

Just what would happen if the majority of your electorate turned down the very idea of an underpass? Have you not just squandered some half-million dollars on engineering, etc. before any decisions have been made?

Perhaps CASSA or some other independent and fair-minded local group should do an objective and unbiased analysis of the best and most cost-effective option for the proposed crossing of the CPR tracks before any more tax or DCC funds are expended.

And then, and only then, would an appropriately worded referendum be put to the electorate offering a choice of either ‘do nothing,’ ‘an overpass’ or ‘an underpass’ before any more municipal funds are expended.

Or has this whole one-track initiative already proceeded too far for common sense to prevail? Hopefully not.



As a proud resident of the ‘north-of-the-tracks’ area,

Paul D. Burrows


Salmon Arm Observer