Letter to the Editor: What happened to democracy?

It’s time to speak up and do whatever you can to put a stop to the current water meter program, and get a referendum going, writer says.

Grand Forks’ mayor and city council have decided to install water meters in Grand Forks. They are proceeding at an alarming, accelerated pace, going forward despite major opposition to the plan from local residents and taxpayers.

There was a petition circulated earlier this year, calling for a referendum on water meter installation. The petition accumulated some 800 or so signatures in favour of a referendum on the matter. This was presented to the mayor and city council, and was ignored. They are still proceeding with the water meters.

This is totally appalling and unbelievable. First, in order to get 800-some-odd signatures on anything in a town like this is a major landmark event… something to really take note of. Second, this means that a major proportion of residents/taxpayers are deeply concerned, or totally opposed, and want either further preliminary steps or cancellation of the project. Pretty obvious and straightforward, right? Anyone who cared about democracy would really stand up and take notice.

Well, apparently our mayor and city council are doing their best to ignore the democratic process. Our civil rights and liberties are being violated. We have every right to vote on how our town is run. It doesn’t matter WHAT the issue is: could be water meters, urban deer, street paving, whatever. The issue here is that we are getting railroaded against our collective wills. Mayor and city council do not have the right to force installations and “improvements” on us that we don’t want, no matter how good they can make it look; there are always alternatives. If the majority is in favour of a project (or against it), no matter how silly it sounds, that is the way it should be. It’s called democracy.

The only way to proceed on a contentious issue like this is by placing a moratorium on the project now, and holding a referendum at the upcoming election. Let the people speak.

This is our town. We have a right to speak and be heard. It’s time to speak up and do whatever you can to put a stop to the current water meter program, and get a referendum going.

I suggest that at the November civic elections, we speak loudly and vote for a brand new mayor and city council that believe in democracy.

For further information please attend the Info Session on Aug. 6 (7-9 p.m.) at the Grand Forks Christian Centre on the corner of Fourth St. and 75th (as per the Gazette ad in this issue) or call 250-442-6000.

Jack Koochin

Grand Forks, B.C.