No roadblocks from province on plebiscite

Rocky Mountain House residents will decide the question of VLTs once again. The town is going ahead with a plebiscite on the issue.

Rocky Mountain House residents will decide the question of VLTs once again. The town is going ahead with a plebiscite on the issue.

Council learned this week that the province won’t interfere in the question after it sought a legal opinion earlier this month.

VLTs were outlawed 12 years ago in Rocky after two-thirds of the 1,600 people who voted in a plebiscite opted to turf them.

The town is now drafting a bylaw to go to council on June 2. It will result in a plebiscite being held within 90 days.

If residents vote in favour of VLTs, a letter will be sent to the province asking for their return.

The action was necessary after an association of town pub owners gathered more than 800 names on a petition calling for their return.

The total cost of the plebiscite, including legal fees, could be around $10,000.

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

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

Pub association spearhead Jim Pogson said earlier that business has dropped about 30 per cent from the same period last year because of the slumping economy and that taverns need to attract customers.

Organized debate could take place before the plebiscite.

The Rocky ministerial association, which is opposed to the machines, said earlier it will debate the faults of VLTs if meetings could be arranged.

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com

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