Parkade foes say they have their numbers
A month ago, it seemed like a near impossible task.
The group hoping to stop the Lorne Street parkade project needed to get more than 6,500 valid signatures from Kamloops residents on a counter-petition.
In less than a month, Friends of Riverside Park has surpassed the total and is looking for more.
As of Friday, Sept. 30, the group had reached 6,600 signatures on the counter-petition as part of the alternate-approval process.
The total does not include petitions collected at city hall.
"We're just elated," said Bob Gamble of Friends of Riverside Park.
"We started this four weeks ago with nothing. We had no idea how the support was going to be, but it's been overwhelming."
At its pace, the petition appears likely to meet or exceed the group's target of 7,500 signatures.
On Aug. 30, council gave final approval to a bylaw to borrow $8 million to build the parkade, triggering the alternative-approval process.
Opponents have until Oct. 11 to gather 10 per cent of the electorate’s signatures (6,533), forcing council to drop the project or send it to referendum.
The group is trying to get 7,500 signatures to create a buffer just in case some counter-petition signatures are not legitimate.
Gamble said his group would like council to walk away from the project and revisit the parking issue.
"There's no question in a lot of people's mind we need another parkade, but not in Riverside Park," he said, arguing council doesn't need to spend money on a referendum.
In May, city council decided to proceed with a two-level, 350 stall parkade in the Lorne Street parking lot adjacent to Riverside Park.
If the counter-petition is successful, and if council decides to go to referendum, the cost would be approximately $90,000.
A referendum cannot be held in conjunction with the Nov. 19 civic election as the Aug. 31 deadline to add such measures to the ballot has passed.