As an Area H resident who has spent some time gathering and disseminating factual information about the Princeton Aquatic Centre Project, it has come to my attention that some people don’t quite understand what is wrong with the Referendum. Everybody gets to vote and that’s democracy – right?
No it is not. There is more to democracy than just having an opportunity to vote. The outcome of the vote should be representative of what most people would like, and people need to know what they’re voting for. In this case the voting is set up in such a way that Area H will be very poorly represented by any outcome.
Of course almost everybody is in favour of having an aquatic facility, regardless of where they live or whether they will make use of it or not. The arguments start when we discuss cost and who will pay for it. That is what the referendum is about – not if we want a pool.
Let me start by pointing out that if everybody in Area H votes “no”, and everybody in Princeton votes “yes”, then the referendum passes. That is because there are more voters in that town. Another disparity is that there are many, possibly eight times, as many people in Princeton who won’t pay the tax, regardless of the outcome. They probably won’t object to an aquatic centre.
But the question is, why is Area H involved to begin with? Five years ago the statistically rising median age was 56 years and there are very few children. Add the fact that 46% don’t live here and come mostly in the summer to enjoy outdoor activities, and it becomes clear that the demographic is not likely to be one that will participate much in any indoor aquatic activities taking place in a neighbouring municipality. Especially if it involves spending an hour in a car.
Regardless, if this passes and we have to pay for a pool then the people in Princeton, who arguably have better access to this proposed facility, would only be paying 39% of the cost. This referendum simply does not ensure a match of the benefits and costs which is legally required in regional districts. If you care about the democratic process you will want Area H to vote for themselves and if you are also a resident there – you will demand it.
~ Ole Juul