GERTIE referendum date set for February 13, 2016

Sounder News

Tuesday, December 8 2015

The GERTIE referendum was given provincial approval this past week by the Inspector of Municipalities.

Jacquie Hill, Manager of Administrative Services for the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN), will be proceeding with preparation of notices to advise electors of voting procedures in the referendum.

Howard Houle, RDN Director for Area B (Gabriola, Mudge and DeCourcy), confirmed that the referendum date is scheduled for February 13, 2016, with advance voting on February 3 and 10, 2016.

According to the RDN and GERTIE organizations, the referendum will seek the approval of all Gabriola voters (including non-property-owning residents), to contribute toward a system of public transit modelled on the current GERTIE operation.

The requisition will allow for up to a maximum of $250,000 for the service, but GERTIE organizers are only seeking approximately $140,000.

As Houle has explained, the extra amount is set to avoid having to go back to a referendum every time the cost of living catches up with the funding requisition. (A similar funding formula was set up for the Gabriola Recreation Society.)

Should the GERTIE referendum be approved, the new service will begin in June of 2016 (at the end of the current three-year pilot project) and the budget for the remainder of 2016 is likely to be $88,000, which equates to $7.76 per $100,000 of assessed value. 

In 2017 the budget will be approximately $140,000 ($12.50 per $100,000). 

Any future increases proposed by the GERTIE organizers will have to be approved by Gabriola residents at an annual meeting of the Gabriola Community Bus Foundation.

If funding is approved, the Gabriola bus service will continue to be planned, operated and driven by Gabriolans, rather than integrated into the RDN Transit system. 

In addition to general operating costs such as vehicles, maintenance, fuel and insurance, the funding requested will allow for bus drivers to be paid, and will also include a modest amount to gradually update the bus fleet.