Some parts of the city narrowly favoured a Yes vote, and other parts less narrowly wanted the No vote to win.
What does this result mean? The question on the ballot, which City Council unanimously published from the [“insufficient”] petition, was defeated. Had it passed, City Council would have been bound to the citizens’ choice. A ‘no’ vote holds no such binding effect, leaving the City Council to implement whichever funding and operation plan they choose. Presently they’ve opted for a P3 model, even after learning there’s potentially more money through another funding option that would leave our Waste Water Treatment Plant publicly operated. Only their ideology and pride stands in the way now of Regina getting a better, more democratic WWTP.
During the first debate, the Mayor took a moment to bemoan the referendum question as binding Council, should it pass, but leaving their options technically open should it fail. “We are precluded from looking at any other model … we’re hamstrung.” Well, not anymore, it’s failed, so the ball is more completely his to hit again. Let’s hope he and Council keep their eyes open for the best options considering democratic control of public utilities, and the city’s finances.
ADDED: Greg thinks the referendum may give some of the results the Yes side was seeking anyway, as an opposition to the power system in City Hall has come together a bit more.