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REPORTING · 13th January 2014
Walter McFarlane
Kitimat City Council is planning a plebiscite tonight at their Committee of the Whole Meeting. A plebiscite is, essentially, a non-binding vote where the community will inform the Council of their opinion of the Northern Gateway Pipeline.

In a memo to Council, CAO Ron Poole explains that Staff will use the election sections of the Local Government act as a guide for the development of their recommendations. They are suggesting the advance Vote take place on March 26th and April 2nd from 8 am to 8 pm at the District of Kitimat office and General Voting Day take place on April 5th at the Mount Elizabeth Cafeteria and Riverlodge, again from 8 am to 8 pm.

The District is also recommending that mail voting be permitted. As per Council’s advice, they are suggesting voting opportunities are held on the day of the plebiscite at Kitimat General Hospital, Kiwanis Village and Delta King Place.

Poole’s recommendation for eligible voters is as follows: “That eligible plebiscite voters be at least 18 or older on the first day of voting commences, and provide proof of identify and Kitimat as primary residency. The sole use of utility and similar bills will not be considered as proof of residency, and the Kitimat voters list be used in addition to registering at the time of voting.”

For officials the recommendation is for Deputy CAO Warren Waycheshen to be appointed plebiscite officer and the deputy clerk appointed as Deputy Plebiscite officer. Up to three Scrutineers for each side of the question are recommended and if more than three apply for one side, they will be determined by drawing lots.

The final two recommendations revolve around banning canvasing within 100 metres of the building where the vote takes place and designating the plebiscite as an ‘election’ in regards to the rules for signage.

The other question which is going to be posed to Council tonight regards the creation of the question. The District of Kitimat is putting two options before Council. Option 1 is one simple yes or no question: Are you in favour of the Enbridge Northern Gateway project. Poole explains this meets the requirement set out in 2012.

Option 2 involves having more than one question, such as support of the JRP, whether concerns are marine, pipeline or both, whether opinion changes if the project was linked to a refinery or if Enbridge was not the proponent.

Council will be making the decisions to build the Plebiscite tonight. They could choose to go with the recommendations or they could decide on something else. Nothing will be in stone until tonight.