The bylaw that would allow the County of Stettler to borrow roughly $7 million to help finance the building of a new shop facility is dead.
The muncipal legislation was scrapped at the county’s Wednesday, April 13 meeting after council voted not to spend money on a plebiscite. The plebiscite was the only way the borrowing bylaw could move forward after county citizens filed a petition representing 10 per cent of the county’s residents.
The major factor in defeating the motion for a plebiscite was the concern that people would be voting on inaccurate information, as rumours of drastic tax increases and layoffs had circulated with news of the borrowing bylaw. Despite the county’s media blitz trying to provide accurate information, the rumours have persisted, councillors said.
With the plebiscite matter defeated at council, the only option councillors had later in the meeting, when revisiting the borrowing bylaw for its second reading, was to vote to defeat it. The bylaw was defeated unanimously.
Council is meeting today to discuss options for funding as well as the intrusive study results.
Tour of existing shop
Before discussing the borrowing bylaw or the plebiscite, council, staff, media and the gallery were taken on a tour of the existing shop facilities with a representative from WSP Canada Inc., the company who earlier won the tender to perform the studies.
The results of the study were not discussed at the meeting as staff and council needed time to go over them, but WSP Canada pointed out many of the dangers and flaws in the county shop during the tour.
When asked if the shop facility met any of the building standards, the representative did not answer the question.
“It’s definitely not the worst facility I’ve inspected,” he said. “There are a lot of problems here, however.”
Even though all work had been stopped for the day so the tour could proceed with no safety concerns, many of the people on the tour later complained about persistent headaches.
In order for the shop to meet existing building codes, the entire building would have to be gutted and rebuilt from the inside, the representative from WSP suggested.