A Conversation is Happening ...

... people are talking about democracy, citizen empowerment, referendums, and much more.

It's wonderful to have people approach me asking about a Citizen's Initiated Referendum Bylaw  - curious, challenging, informed or mis-informed -- it doesn't matter.  I love to have these discussions.

People are surprised to know that the City of Rossland adopted a Constitution Bylaw twelve years ago.

Rossland's Muncipal Constitution is based on the belief that citizens (voters and taxpayers):

  • will take an interest in issues of substance;
  • will seek to inform themselves about facts; and
  • will debate the merits and the cost of public policy questions

provided their efforts can truly, honestly and effectively determine the decision.

The Rossland Bylaw gives citizens the ability to initiate a referendum process, on issues they deem important, if they secure signatures from a certain percentage of registered voters.  Rossland citizens chose 20% as their benchmark.

There are some that have a concern that the community would constantly be embroiled in a referenda process. Research shows this doesn't happen. It takes time and energy to undertake a petition and citizens will only engage in a petition process for an issue of substance.

Rossland City Council trusted the wisdom of their residents and had the courage to implement this progressive Bylaw.

p>Rossland's Constitution Bylaw has created a healthy working partnership between council and citizens/taxpayers.

It could do the same for Nelson.