Kitimat administrator explains council’s options ahead of Northern Gateway plebiscite

Warren Waycheshen sheds some light on the choices council will make in preparing for a community plebiscite on the Northern Gateway project.

While Kitimat Council’s decision on how to handle the plebiscite on the Northern Gateway Pipelines proposal is still perhaps weeks away, Kitimat’s Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Warren Waycheshen elaborated a little on the potential options they’ll face.

He said that section 83 of B.C.’s Community Charter gives a municipality the power to seek community opinion on a question the town believes will affect the municipality, either through voting or “any other process the council considers appropriate.”

Waycheshen said that gives councillors the option to either use election sections of the Local Government Act to hold a formal referendum or have a less formal process.

The less formal process, says Waycheshen, will still have to be overseen by staff similar to an election, but it gives the council the ability to review the rules that govern an election and lets them use the whole or only parts of it.

As an example, the Local Government Act requires voters to live in a municipality for 30 days to be eligible to vote. A non-binding plebiscite would give council the ability to alter that timeframe, for instance.

Waycheshen emphasizes that is just an example of a possibility, as council here has not yet made any decisions on how to conduct the upcoming vote.

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