Around 7pm, I dropped by Artesian — that’s where Regina Water Watch volunteers gathered to collect petitions and tally the signatures — and at that time they reported they’d already passed the 22,000 signature mark.
That means they’ve easily surpassed the 19,310 signatures needed to force a referendum on the waste water treatment plant redevelopment.
This is all assuming, of course, that the city clerk’s office gives the petition their stamp of approval. They’ll have 30 days to go over the list of names and make sure everything is in order. And if the city clerk doesn’t find any reason to strike 3,000 plus names off the petition, city council will have to go ahead with a referendum on the waste water P3 within nine months.
Incidentally, Regina Water Watch has also passed the 20,742 signature mark that would have been required had the province agreed to the city’s request last week to raise the referendum threshold. But provincial government relations minister Jim Reiter turned the city down so the group will be bringing their stack of petition sheets to city hall tomorrow confident they have a much safer buffer.
Another benchmark to note: when I showed up, a volunteer pointed out to me that Regina Water Watch has also gathered more signatures than Mayor Michael Fougere earned in votes in October’s election. I double checked and Fougere was elected with 21,685 votes. And in fact, the total votes cast for everyone on council — that’s all 10 wards — is just 22,024.
Kind of puts into context the amount of discontent that’s brewing out there for the city’s P3 waste water plan. And doubtless, by now, the signature tally will only have increased.
Regina Water Watch will be handing off their stack of signatures to city hall tomorrow afternoon.