As you might expect from a 100-year-old, Anne Land1 takes the long view on certain things.
And one of them is the railway referendum now underway in Lake Country, where she has lived virtually her entire life.
The centenarian, who turns 101 next month, is among the 27 per cent of eligible voters who had already cast their ballots at advance polls by Tuesday afternoon.
Land is an enthusiastic supporter of the plan by local governments to buy the railway corridor from CN, and she voted to support Lake Country’s plan for borrowing $2.6 million to help pay the community’s share.
“I’m heartily in favour of it, and I surely hope and pray it goes through,” Land said from her home in Okanagan Centre.
Converting the 48-km abandoned railway corridor between Vernon and Kelowna into a recreational path, much of which runs along the shores of Kalamalka and Wood lakes, would deliver considerable economic benefits, Land believes.
“In time, we’d have people coming from Europe and other parts of Canada to walk along the trail and enjoy that lakeshore with all its beauty,” Land said. “The alternative is to see it all broken up into bits and pieces and sold off to individuals and companies.”
As of 2:30 p.m Tuesday, [April 21, 2015] a total of 2,523 Lake Countryians had cast votes at advance polls, the last of which concluded at 8 pm last night. General voting day is Saturday, at the town hall, from 8 am-8 pm and officials hope the turnout will eclipse the Lake Country record for a municipal vote of 43 per cent set in 1999.
The referendum asks voter consent to proceed with a borrowing plan that would raise the average Lake Countryian’s municipal property taxes by $27 for each of the next 20 years.
Critics have said the town’s financial situation is not good, noting a top municipal official warned recently that some paved streets may have to be turned back to gravel roads if more money for maintenance wasn’t raised. They’ve said the town should have other financial priorities than developing a new trail.
But Land believes the proposed tax hike is well worth the benefit. “In my mind, there’s a certain group of people who, perhaps for no reason, get all worked up about something like this and figure there’s no way they can handle paying another few dollars a month or whatever this works out to, and they’re scared stiff,” Land said.
“I’m not a hiker myself, so I probably won’t use the trail,” she said. “But I’m all in favor of the opportunity for other people to do so.”2
Saturday, April 25, 2015 is the Referendum date. If you haven’t voted, please do. Polls are at George Elliot Secondary School Community Gym, 10241 Bottom Wood Lake Road in Lake Country, BC. Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Lake Country Residents — Control your Destiny!
1 Anne Land, a resident of Okanagan Centre, is a Director of the Lake Country Historical and Cultural Society and an Honorary Life Member.
2 Seymour, Ron. “Centenarian casts her vote in referendum.” Kelowna Daily Courier. April, 22, 2015. p. A1