Editorial: Go and vote in referendum

NANAIMO – What's most important now are the thoughts of the majority.

The multiplex question now goes to a majority vote.

A public process that began last fall will culminate this Saturday (March 11) in a referendum. The City of Nanaimo will ask citizens a straightforward question: Do we support borrowing $80 million for a sports and events centre on the south downtown waterfront?

In an editorial in the News Bulletin earlier this week, we summarized some of what we felt were the best reasons to vote ‘yes’ or ’no,’ expressing excitement about the project’s potential, but reservations about the integrity of the process. We won’t rehash those arguments, which can be found on our website at www.nanaimobulletin.com/opinion.

What’s most important now are the thoughts of the majority, which we’re about to learn.

We know there are people on both sides of the debate who feel strongly about this issue, and for good reason. For taxpayers who are being asked to trust that a lot of things will fall into place, $80 million is a significant ask and therefore a significant risk.

The location matters to people, too. We all have different ideas about what we want on our waterfront and how we can revitalize our downtown and this project would have a major impact on how the area will look, feel, develop and prosper.

A multiplex could be something that ends up being expensive and empty or it could be something positive and transformative. Whichever future we envision, we do have a say, and our best chance to do so is at the ballot box in two days’ time.

There are 12 voting locations and the polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Nanaimo and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Protection Island. You don’t need to be a property owner to cast a ballot and you’re probably already on the voters’ list; you can find out at www.nanaimo.ca/votersearch. All the necessary voter registration information can be found online at www.nanaimo.ca/eventscentre.

There’s a yes-or-no question to be answered this week. On Saturday, vote. The city wouldn’t be asking if this weren’t important.