More than 10 per cent of Lake Country residents vote against borrowing for rail line

Alternative approval process to borrow $2.6 million fails in Lake Country; inter-jurisdictional team needs new plan

Lake Country residents have cast enough ballots to surpass the 10 per cent threshold in an alternative approval process that was asking for permission to borrow $2.6 million towards the purchase of the CN Rail corridor between Kelowna and Lake Country.

The number opposed to the borrowing bylaw was 960 qualified electors. This is more than 10 per cent of qualified electors (931 qualified electors) so the bylaw will not be adopted.

District of Lake Country council will meet Tuesday at 5 p.m. in a special meeting of council to review the outcome.

The alternative approval process concluded at 12 p.m. Monday and results were validated by the district corporate officer.

Council will receive a determination of results for the process during the evening council meeting. The report is available online at okanaganway.ca/municipal.

The alternative approval process had asked for electoral consent for the district to raise taxes and borrow $2.6 million to purchase the Lake Country portion of the old CN Rail corridor.

The implications of a no vote were not known as Lake Country and its partners have until the end of March to close the financial conditions on the tentative deal with CN Rail and a different plan other than raising taxes and borrowing money could be hatched.

The parties have a deal in principle to purchase the line for $22 million

In total Lake Country will have to raise over $5 million to help the inter-jurisdictional group consisting of Kelowna, Lake Country and the North Okanagan Regional District purchase the discontinued line.

Half of Lake Country’s total was planned to come through the loan while the other half would have come from the City of Kelowna, which would purchase part of the line for about $2.5 million. Lake Country would then gradually pay back the money to Kelowna, without interest for the first three years, and with no set schedule on pay back.