Abbotsford city council candidates Henry Braun and Kevin Chapman now say they will be voting “no” on the Stave Lake water question on the Nov. 19 referendum ballot, while Mark Rushton has taken a “yes” stance.
Of the 21 candidates running for council seats, four had initially said they were undecided as to their position on the Stave Lake proposal. All of the incumbents are in favour, with the exception of Coun. Patricia Ross.
Braun said he has been seeking answers to his questions about the proposed P3 water deal.
“Over the past weeks I have been listening, gathering information and learning as much as I can about our water situation and the Stave Lake water plan voters are being asked to decide on,” said Braun. He said there were too many “unknowns” at this point.
“If it were my money I wouldn’t invest in the project without better information on what we are committing ourselves to – so I cannot honestly recommend that the citizens of Abbotsford approve spending tax money on this either.”
Braun believes local residents have already begun to respond to the potential water issue, and when properly informed will choose to conserve water.
“The issues are complex, deserving of additional time to examine innovative, long-term solutions and I’d like to see Mission back at the table.”
Chapman said the project cost is one of his biggest concerns, especially with information emerging on other options that are more cost-efficient.
“There has also been a lot of misinformation, that’s why I took so long deciding.”
Rushton is one of only two council challengers presently taking a supporting position.
“I think that with the $65 million now committed, the current process will be more beneficial for the taxpayer, because it will reduce the tax burden than if we were to do it ourselves.
“I think it is in the best interests of taxpayers, because of cost difference, that it be approved. If we don’t expand the tax base, then we’re in trouble. All costs will fall on individual taxpayers today, rather than the future taxpayers that will come here. We just have to be careful with the contracts we sign.”
Candidate Jati Sidhu, who was also undecided, could not be reached for comment before deadline.