Kitimat staff seeking direction on plebiscite: possibly looking at early April voting

District of Kitimat staff have weighed in with reports to council for Monday's Committee of the Whole.

The staff reports to Kitimat Council are released giving councillors details and suggestions on how to proceed on a plebiscite to gather community opinion on the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines project.

Staff will suggest to council to hold advanced voting days on March 26 and April 2, with general voting in the plebiscite on April 5.

The locations of the vote are suggested to be at the municipal offices and at Mount Elizabeth Middle Secondary School on the main voting day.

Staff are recommending following the Local Government Act for eligibility in voting, including being at least 18-years-old, and being a resident of Kitimat for at least 30 days. The suggestion is that proof of residence in Kitimat be required and not just a utility bill, as many people may live here for work but have residence elsewhere.

They also suggest having three scrutineers for each side of the question, with potential scrutineers being able to apply for the role. Scrutineers can be present during the counting of ballots.

As for signage, staff is recommending using the Kitimat Municipal Code’s election signage rules. The rules would be in effect between the time the questions are decided and voting day.

As for the questions themselves, staff have presented possibilities for councillors to vote on. One option would be to have a single question.

That question could be worded as “Are you in favour of the Enbridge Northern Gateway project? YES NO”

Staff have also provided other areas that council might want to ask through the plebiscite, such as if the voter supports or opposes the project based on the Joint Review Panel’s findings, if the opinion on the pipeline changes if it’s linked to a refinery, or if concerns are pipeline or marine based, or both.

All of these details will be discussed by councillors on January 13’s Committee of the Whole meeting at 7:30 p.m.