The North Oyster fire hall has been living on borrowed time for over twenty years. It’s too small for today’s fire trucks, has a problem meeting WorkSafeBC’s requirements and is in danger of falling down. A seismic study and a costs to bring it up to requirements have been prepared by a local engineering firm. The projected cost is higher than building a new hall and the hall still wouldn’t fit today’s fire trucks.
The price to build a new fire hall is high as it has to be built to post-disaster standards and done the government way – that’s the law and we can whine all we want, but that won’t change.
It’s $3.03 million or less, and when you borrow money there are associated costs, such as interest. The good news is the interest rate is low right now and we can lock in for twenty years.
Unfortunately, there are only just over 1000 parcels of land in the fire protection district, which means our fair share is more than we’d like to pay, but then no one likes to pay taxes. The good news is thanks to Mary Marcotte’s hard work over the years, North Oyster has the lowest tax rate in the CVRD.
A parcel tax has been proposed instead of the more common assessment tax. Parcel taxation is being used more and more for fire hall construction as it is a fair way to distribute costs evenly. Waterfront homes don’t have more fire calls than other homes, so why should they get taxed more?
We need a new fire hall and there are people that will use any excuse to criticise the process, method, location or cost, but the bottom line is we need a new hall, many studies have been done and the longer we wait the more it will cost.
Please support our firefighters and vote yes on November 19.