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Capital Regional District plan to borrow up to $85M for housing approved

Only 1,859 forms in opposition were submitted through an alternative approval process —well short of the 33,000 required to kill the plan
Under the Capital Regional District’sweighted voting system, there were 66 votes in favour and 17 opposed to the borrowing plan. TIMES COLONIST

The Capital Regional District board has approved borrowing up to $85 million to buy land for affordable housing.

Under an alternative approval process, a minimum of 10 per cent of electors — 33,191 — needed to register their opposition by submitting forms to kill the ­borrowing plan.

By the close of voting, 1,859 forms from electors were submitted.

Results were submitted to the district’s board on Wednesday, which voted in favour of approving them in a weighted vote, with 66 votes in favour and 17 opposed.

Use of the alternative approval process had been criticized by groups such as the Grumpy Taxpayers of Greater Victoria, who called for a referendum for large borrowing proposals.

Director and View Royal Mayor Sid Tobias said it was cumbersome for some seniors to print out and submit the electoral response forms, but staff said the district had forms to hand out at its headquarters, and the forms could also be downloaded online. The district also mailed out self-addressed envelopes with the form.

The bylaw gives the district the ability to borrow up to $85 million as projects arise.

Board chair and Saanich Coun. Colin Plant said the district needs to embrace co-operation and innovation as it looks to provide needed services in a livable and sustainable region.

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait also supported the bylaw, saying the district has done a good job of providing necessary housing for seniors and families. “There is a proven track record.”