Hornby Island fire hall project steep in misleading info

Dear editor,

Regarding recent articles about the  Hornby Island Fire Hall renewal project.

Firstly, all volunteer former professional engineers who indicated renovations could be done for much less than $1 million were ousted from the oversight committee and indeed it became a “Select Committee” for a project that will cost twice as much or more as initially put to our community.

Secondly, the SC and the CVRD presented many plans to the community and both erstwhile organizations gave different answers or were unwilling to give any answers to the same questions concerning the hall size, quality and cost.

Thirdly, the rationale of using an AAP (Alternative Approval Process) is meant to avoid referendum expenses on projects where they are of somewhat inconsequential cost. This $1.9 million project ($2.5 million with financing) is a candidate because the CVRD states a $24 increase in [annual] tax over a total 2014 fire budget for a $455,000 property is an inconsequential five per cent increase for hall construction.

Anyone understanding costs and proportionality can intuitively see that $24 a year for a $2.5 million expense does not compute. $2.5 million divided by 831 registered voters (not property owners liable for tax) in of itself is a crude $150 a year for 20 years. So there has to be extremely high property values or a lot of property owners not eligible to vote to get the price down to the levels the CVRD is stating.

So where is the money coming from? And at what cost?

As the CVRD directors and SC members voted to proceed in this matter, they are either really naive or patronizing abusers of the taxpayer.

There is nothing wrong with the dreamers presenting what is wanted in a hall they’d rather have then an upgraded building they don’t like – but to mislead people on both what is happening, and on cost, then take away the right of the taxpayers to be properly informed and make an inclusive decision by way of referendum is not right.

Could it be criminal? It certainly is not ethical or democratic.

R. Gee

Hornby Island