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City planning for aquatic centre referendum

Keep those voting pencils sharp, you could soon have more boxes to check.

The City of Yellowknife is planning a referendum on its new aquatic centre in November.

Residents will be given the chance to back the city’s plan to borrow millions to replace its aging Ruth Inch Memorial Pool site with a new aquatic centre.

The new project, which is set to cost anywhere from $52 million to nearly $64 million for the initial construction, is going to be one of the city’s largest capital projects for the next few years, and comprise a large chunk of capital spending in future budgets.

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The project is forecasted to increase capital project spending by around 140 per cent in the 2022 budget compared to the estimates for the 2021 budget.

Residents need to vote to allow the city to borrow the funds required to complete the project.

The vote will be held by mail ballot. 

The city is also planning a change to its election bylaw which would allow for mail-in balloting and the vote-counting machines, which isn’t currently allowed under territorial legislation.

If approved by the public, pool construction is set to begin in spring 2022, with the hopes of being completed by November 2023, according to the report’s timeline.

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