‘Listen, Ottawa, seniors vote’: Ladysmith seniors turn out in big numbers opposing AAP

'Listen, Ottawa, seniors vote': Ladysmith seniors turn out in big numbers opposing AAP

Ladysmith seniors who are struggling to pay the bills came out in force Thursday, lining First Avenue. With the honking support of motorists behind them, they called for higher pensions to help seniors struggling with the rising cost of living.

“And most of them are on meds. I’ve stood in Pharmasave and watched old people say, ‘Can I just buy one week, instead of one month or three months?’ It’s so sad it breaks your heart,” Ladysmith resident Helen Kyle told CHEK News.

“Because costs have gone up so much, if I didn’t have my daughter living with me I wouldn’t be able to keep my house,” said Maureen Pietrzykowski, a rural Ladysmith resident.

The seniors held up signs reading “Listen[,] Ottawa, seniors vote.” They proved that this week. Eighty-two-year-old Helen Kyle was one of many at the rally who voted against Ladysmith’s borrowing of $13.5 million to build a new town hall through an Alternative Approval Process and quashed the borrowing this week.

“Oh, I think its ludicrous. We are a small town. A lovely small town, and they’re going to spend millions,” said Kyle.

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The controversial AAP would have required no further public consultations to borrow and build. To stop it, 10 per cent of voters had to write in opposing it. Instead nearly 29 per cent of Ladysmith voters opposed it.

“It was sort of a negative billing thing. If we did nothing it would go ahead. So people did come out and say wait, we need to know what’s going on here,” said David Grimstead, a Ladysmith resident who was active in getting out the vote against the AAP.

“Over 28 pe rcent of the eligible voters came out and cast a ballot asking for more time and more information. We have municipal elections where we have a smaller turn out than that,” said Alex Stuart, another Ladysmith resident who was active in getting out the vote against the AAP.

It was unclear as of Thursday what will happen to Ladysmith’s new city hall now, but according to Mayor Aaron Stone, the message has been heard loud and clear.

“It wasn’t the result that we’d wanted but I think we have to respect the decision of the electors, because there is a deep need for a new city hall,” Stone told CHEK News on Thursday.

“We know that it’s 100 years old and it’s got asbestos. We know we need a new city hall, but just the city hall,” said Ladysmith resident Joanne Burroughs.

Meanwhile, Ladysmith voters are proving their municipal might, and urge provincial and federal politicians to take note.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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