Returning officer has not heard polling station concerns
Online community worries over reaching the Enjoy Centre not communicated to city worker
| Posted: Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 06:00 am
Concerns about having the polling station at the Enjoy Centre for voters in the Grandin/Heritage Lakes voting subdivisions haven’t been heard by the returning officer yet.
Chris Belke, the returning officer for the city civic election and also St. Albert’s chief legislative officer, said he hadn’t received any concerns or complaints about the polling station there as of Wednesday. Postings on various community websites show some concerns, however.
“It’s very difficult to provide for everybody’s needs with any particular facility available anywhere in the city but we do try to do our best job to, you know, provide locations that are accessible and convenient to use for the majority of the people that they’re intended to serve,” Belke said.
Belke pointed out in the 2010 election, the polling station for that area was at the Kinsmen banquet centre a few blocks north of the Enjoy Centre and there wasn’t an issue then. He said the Enjoy Centre is better set up than most to accommodate large numbers of people coming and going.
When asked if providing some kind of transit for the day for voters was considered, Belke said no.
“Nobody’s ever suggested that or brought me any concerns,” he said.
There were advance vote opportunities held at St. Albert Place, Belke said, pointing out there’s good transit to city hall. The last advance vote ran today from 9 a.m. to noon. For those unable to attend advance polls or vote on election day there was a special mail-in ballot option, Belke said.
Municipal elections in St. Albert ceased having polls in schools years ago, he said.
“It’s a decision we’ve made many years ago that we feel it’s better to use other facilities when they’re available other than schools,” Belke said. He explained schools aren’t always necessarily well designed for having a lot of people coming and going, especially if school is in session.
For non-city owned polling stations, a rental fee is paid to the facility, Belke said.
“Many of them give us very good rates,” he said.
A complete list of polling stations is available on the city’s website, www.stalbert.ca.