Results are in from the first-ever provincially run Tele-Town Halls.

Over the past three weeks, more than a 250,000 British Columbians took part in the 11 HST telephone-town hall meetings, exceeding expectations. Out of the 417, 464 British Columbians who answered their phones, 276,504 or 66 per cent, participated in the calls, waiting on the phone for approximately 17 minutes.

The feedback from these calls will be reviewed and evaluated in order to help improve the developing harmonized sales tax policy.

The tele-town halls were hosted by Finance Minister Kevin Falcon, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Blair Lekstrom and Mister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Pat Bell.

Falcon says, “Participation in the talking-taxes tele-town halls has far exceeded our initial expectations. British Columbians were very frank and direct with their feedback and questions, and that’s exactly the kind of conversation I wanted to have before we look at policy changes to improve the HST.”

With regards to the Peace River Region, 9,897 people answered their phones, with 5,878 or 59 per cent participating, waiting on the phone for an average of 21 minutes.

British Columbians will now vote in a mail-in referendum on the HST. Ballots will be mailed out in June and must be returned to Elections B.C. or a Service B.C. office by Friday July 22.

For more information on the province wide participation rates and on the HST, visit www.HSTinBC.ca