Anti-parkade signatures delivered
As Bob Gamble climbed the steps of Kamloops City Hall with a box in hand, he did so with a slight smile and feeling of relief.
After eating, sleeping and breathing for a month a counter-petition to put the brakes on the Lorne Street parkade project, the face of Friends of Riverside Park had one last task to complete before getting back to everyday life.
Gamble had to deliver the signatures.
On Tuesday, Oct. 11, he did just that, ending the five-week campaign by handing in a box with 9,752 signatures.
The group was expecting the petition to top the 10,000-mark as a few more sheets trickled in by the end of the day.
Gamble explained to supporters and the media, who gathered for the delivery of the signatures, how the petition drive seems to have succeeded.
“It just seemed to strike a chord with the public and they responded in kind” he said, adding the encouragement from residents helped the group through the grueling campaign.
Opponents had until Oct. 11 to gather 10 per cent of the electorate’s signatures (6,533), forcing city council to drop the project or send it to referendum.
On Aug. 30, council gave final approval to a bylaw to borrow $8 million to build the parkade, triggering the alternative-approval process.
But, as one chapter in the parkade saga came to an end, a new one was only starting.
This week, a team of five city staff has been given the arduous task of verifying all signatures on the petition belong to registered voters.
The names will be manually entered into an electronic database to be sorted and then determined to be valid.
Much like the criteria to vote in a civic election, anyone who signed the petition must be 18 years or older, must have lived in B.C. for six months and must have lived in Kamloops for 30 days to be eligible.
However, unlike an election, the city won’t be asking for identification or calling everyone on the list.
Instead, city staff will only be enquiring further if it’s suspected there could be something wrong with the signature.
“I’m quite sure they’ll [the results] be quite accurate,” said Bobbie Harrison, the city’s office-services supervisor.
She said included in the results will be a breakdown of the number of petitions received, rejected and the reasons behind the rejection.
The final tally is expected to complete by the end of the week (Friday, Oct. 14, with results in front of city council on Tuesday, Oct. 18.