VLT petition signatures checked

Town officials are busy counting and checking the validity of names presented in a petition to return VLTs to Rocky Mountain House.

Town officials are busy counting and checking the validity of names presented in a petition to return VLTs to Rocky Mountain House.

Mayor Jim Bague said that council could deal with the issue at its next regular meeting on Tuesday.

A group of pub owners formed an association late last year and needed 723 names, which is 10 per cent of the town’s population of 7,230, to present to council.

This is the second time in the last several months that petitioners have approached council.

Town officials rejected the first petition, declaring it invalid because of inconsistencies in names and questions on petition sheets.

“They have given us the petition and it’s at the review stage by administration at this time,” Bague said.

Jim Pogson, who manages Duffer’s Pub, said earlier it’s being done right this time.

The association wanted a minimum of 850 names, he said earlier.

Pogson is away and was unavailable for comment but he said earlier this month that business has dropped about 30 per cent from the same period last year and taverns need to attract customers.

He said many people go to nearby communities of Leslieville and Caroline to play VLTs.

If the petition is accepted council would then call for a plebiscite on the machines.

Organized debate could take place before the plebiscite.

The machines were outlawed in town about 12 years ago after two-thirds of the 1,600 people who voted in a plebiscite opted to turn the machines off.

The Rocky ministerial association, which is opposed to the machines, said it will debate the faults of VLTs if and when voters are asked to decide.

The association also lobbied against the machines in 1997.

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com

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