|BRID votes to expand|
|Local Content - Local News|
|Written by Trevor Busch|
|Thursday, 15 March 2012 14:32|
Results from last Wednesday’s Bow River Irrigation District (BRID) plebiscite vote on district expansion came back with a resounding majority in favour of expansion.
Of a possible 771 votes, 120 were in favour, with only 21 opposed to the 28,000 acre expansion, which will bump the district's total acres up to 260,000 from the current 232,000 acres.
“We are naturally very pleased to get a yes result,” said BRID general manager Richard Phillips. “We hoped for a yes, we expected a yes, but you never know until you count the votes, and we got a very strong yes vote, so that’s great.”
Wasting no time, Phillips reported the BRID is already accepting applications from water users to add new acres .
“We’re taking applications today. People can apply for acres immediately, and I believe we’ve invited applications to be accepted until May 15, but anyone who wants to add acres to an existing irrigated parcel can come in and apply, we’ve already had some do that. So, it’s just a matter of people coming in and making their applications for acres.”
“If it’s dryland parcels, they’ll need to do the soil test and that takes a little time, but we’re proceeding with it,” added Phillips. “We’ll see how many applications we get — we have no idea really what to expect, but we know there’s demand. If people want acres, come apply — it’s that simple.”
Phillips suspects the over 20 votes opposed to expansion of the BRID likely have more to do with price than expansion.
“I’d expect the reaction would probably be aligned with the vote result. I’d expect the majority of water users will be happy to hear it passed. Certainly, prior to the plebiscite most that I spoke with, people were generally in favour, which again, is reflected in the vote. There was good support for expansion. I honestly think some of the no votes are probably not votes against expansion, so much as an attempt to express dissatisfaction with the price. I believe there’s a little bit of a protest in some of those 21 votes, based on discussions we had with some before, where they said they were going to say no because they didn’t like the price, not that they didn’t like expansion, because I think there was almost universal acceptance that expansion itself was not a bad thing to do.”
The BRID’s last expansion was in 2004, when 21,000 acres were added to the district.