THE FUTURE of a seafront landmark may lie in the hands of the public.
A councillor is calling for a public referendum on whether or not Colwyn Bay town council should foot the bill to repair and run the Victoria Pier.
Cllr Gwyn Hughes of the Rhiw ward said: “Personally, I want to save the pier, but I’ve heard a number of people over the past few months who said they are fed up of the pier. I want to call the referendum to find out if the people of Colwyn Bay are happy to have their money put into the pier for a long time.”
Cllr Hughes said that the town council already gives £50,000 to the Theatre each year, and that any investment in the pier would be a similarly large part of the budget, including long term revenue pay outs.
The pier has been neglected for more than a decade, despite private investors attempting to regenerate the pier and rescue the structure.
Cllr Hughes said: “It’s not a one year project. The decision should rest with the residents. I have had different messages from different people and I think it is only right and proper that the rate payers should have a voice in the matter.”
Town council referendums are relatively rare and are based on a little-known clause of the 1972 Local Government Act.
They are not legally binding, but can be used to give elected representatives on the council a good idea of what their public think about the issue.
Cllr Hughes added that a referendum should only take place once the financial costings and details were clear.
He said: “The decision is such a momentous one that I believe it calls for a public vote. If the pier goes, we will not get another one. This year we will two referendums with the Welsh Assembly. What’s wrong with Colwyn Bay having a third?”