Referendums not a solution

Lynn Crassweller’s suggestion (We all have an equal say, Friday, June 2, 2017) that we (Penticton) deal with all bylaw and public/park land use changes by binding referenda is not, as she ends her letter, ‘democracy at work’. It would be a tyranny of the majority or would see the legitimization of mob rule.

Referenda are used sparingly and for good reason. It’s expensive to hold a vote across an entire jurisdiction and a series of them every time a park or public land use item arose would be wasteful. We have a system to deal with these issues, remarkably similar to many other communities, and it’s evolved over the years to accommodate not only the loudest and most numerous voices but also the opinions and ideas of those in minority in a fair and just fashion.

The city has taken a number of steps over the past months to address issues of communication and transparency. They have increased the access to local government through a number of initiatives. The process is evolving in response to the feedback from the public.

I understand change is difficult. Especially when it comes to small urban centres like Penticton. But launching a referendum every time an issue about a park or piece of public land comes up would create more problems than it solves.

Bradley James Cooper


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