Dutch Lake Advocacy Group presents to council

By Keith McNeill

Three members of Dutch Lake Advocacy Group, Keith McNeill, Jean Nelson and Lisa Wilkinson, presented a petition to Clearwater town council on Tuesday that calls for acquiring the 57-acre property at the northwest corner of Dutch Lake (DL2280) acquired for a park.

“We are here today to present a petition in support of acquiring the land for a park and that asks District of Clearwater to work towards that objective,” said the group’s spokesperson, Keith McNeill.

He reported that the petition has 399 names on it, of which about 251 are District of Clearwater residents.

“We are aware that District of Clearwater has already looked into buying the property. Essentially, all we are asking now is that the municipality take another look,” he said.

McNeill said that although it is a non-binding petition, many municipalities in jurisdictions such as California require the names of just 10 per cent of voters on a petition to force a referendum on a question.

“Clearwater has a population of about 2,300. If we assume that 80 per cent are over age 18 then there should be about 1,840 voters. Ten per cent of 1,840 is 184, so our petition is well over that number (not that we would want to force a petition at this time, with so many variables still unknown),” he said.

The spokesperson also presented the results an online poll done to measure support for creating a park before starting the petition. The poll found that a total of 76 per cent of respondents definitely would or probably would support making the land into a park.

Only 24 per cent either definitely or probably would not support the park proposal.

The paper petition forms were put out at local businesses on June 28. Committee members began collecting names by tabling at Clearwater Buy-Low the following day. They also tabled next to Clearwater Farmers Market on Saturday mornings and at the outdoor market held at Wells Gray Infocenter on Wednesday afternoons. The last day of tabling was on July 8 and the committee members collected the petitions from businesses on July 9.

“Several people had indicated a willingness to help out but it turned out we had only five volunteers to table,” McNeill said. “Considering the short period of time and the small number of volunteers we are quite happy with the number of names collected.”

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