Letter: Fire hall info needed

Editor: The opinions of Gary and Katherine Backlund, regarding the North Oyster Fire Hall replacement project (Ladysmith Chronicle, Tuesday 22, 2011), leaves me shaking my head in dismay.An ad hoc committee was appointed by our CVRD Area H North Oyster Director to look into the replacement or rebuilding of the No. 1 Fire Hall after a motion for the initial project was defeated. According to the committee’s own recommendations, the original proposal was too expensive for the community and the Coffin Point (Evening Cove) issue was beyond their scope.  This committee also looked at ways to reduce costs to the taxpayer with a resultant report that can be read at the North Oyster/Diamond website put up by area director, Mary Marcotte at www.marymarcotte.com. The project appears to have developed into complete schematic drawings for two fire halls to be built, at a cost of $3.2 million (plus interest) over the next 20 years, with this cost covered solely by the taxpayers of North Oyster.  There have been no votes by the constituents of Area H on this matter, merely a series of presentations by the consulting firm who had designed the original (defeated) project.  To date, I have seen no report of the consultants’ competency to properly conduct a fire safety study, nor any study of community needs. I have not been given one study or report of their findings, to show that due diligence has been done, or that I should trust that the proposed project(s), will in fact be the right ones for this area.While looking for information relating to fire hall issues, I was able to find very good, solid and well-researched information.  For example, the City of Parksville has a very comprehensive Fire Safety Plan that can be downloaded and read. Denman Island Volunteer Fire Hall has a very informative website. The more research I did, the more questions I was hoping to have answered, in assurance that the correct project was being planned for my community. Jerrilynn HarrisArea H CVRD