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Pemberton says 'no' to rec facility borrowing in landslide vote

Unofficial results show 85 per cent of voters turned down village proposal to borrow $4.8 million for new multi-sport complex

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Pemberton went to the polls Saturday, June 14 to decide whether the village should borrow millions to build a new multi-sport recreation facility, and the answer was a resounding "no," with 85 per cent of voters choosing not to support the proposal.

According to unofficial results, over 600 turned out Saturday, with 531 voting against and 93 supporting the village's proposal to borrow $4.8 million repayable by taxation over a period of 25 years to assist in financing the facility and adjacent soccer fields.

The official results will be presented to council on Tuesday, June 17.

The referendum was to authorize a loan only — it was not a vote to approve a specific design for the facility.

The rec complex project had accelerated since The Hill Academy announced plans to open a sport-focused campus on land owned by Sunstone Ridge Developments for the 2015-16 school year. The school was eyed as an anchor tenant for the proposed facility.

The school and Sunstone had previously stated they would construct a facility of their own if the community did not support one built by the village, but it would be tailored to The Hill Academy's needs and not as readily available to the rest of the community.

Prior to the referendum, council members stated that a "no" vote from the community wouldn't mean all work on the project to date would have been in vain.

"It would be unfortunate if the appetite of the community isn't there for it yet. That's their right … and we'e not trying to push anything down anyone's throat," acting mayor James Linklater said on June 3. "But we would have a shovel-ready project (for the future)."

See more in Pique on Thursday, June 19.

-With files from Eric MacKenzie

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