I sat in an ad hoc committee in 2009 appointed by Area H CVRD Director Mary Marcotte to come up with a plan to see if we could get a new fire hall for North Oyster Area H that the community would support.
We worked on it for nearly a year and had a program that we endorsed for under $2 million.
This came in about $500,000 less than the alternative approval process that the community rejected soundly a few years ago.
A version of our proposal came back to us from the CVRD at $3,546,177.43.
Our ad hoc committee never met with the North Oyster Fire Commission, whose mandate is to make recommendations to the CVRD.
As it stands now, for $3,030,000 the community would get a new three-bay fire hall situated on the present site that is too small to meet setback requirements. No room for expansion.
The three bays in a new hall would accommodate, the crash truck (first responder), pumper truck, and tanker truck. This would provide water for less than six minutes initially at the fire scene.
The referendum proposes something at Coffin Point for $750,000.
Our current annual operating budget is on the area of $271,301. The referendum will add another $240,000. This represents a fire department budget increase of over 88 per cent for the next 20 years.
We need a new fire hall, but it has to make sense and be one the community can afford. The taxpayers are not a bottomless pit of money.