At its Oct. 21 meeting the Comox Valley Regional District board approved the legislative requirements to conduct an alternate approval process (AAP) for the Hornby Island fire hall construction project.
The project, which includes planning, design, communications and public consultation, is identified as an operational priority for the community services branch (fire services) on the CVRD board’s strategic plan.
At its Sept. 30 meeting, the CVRD board approved holding a referendum to seek elector approval; however the referendum was postponed by the area director to provide for additional time for community awareness.
At its Oct. 10 meeting, the Hornby Island fire hall renewal select committee adopted a resolution to proceed with an AAP.
“Upon further reflection and consideration by the select committee and myself, an AAP is the preferred approach to seeking elector approval,” said Bruce Jolliffe, director for Baynes Sound – Denman/Hornby Island (Area ‘A’). “Proceeding with an alternate approval process will allow the public more time to review details of the project and we encourage that. We have received a lot of effective community input to date.”
The total number of electors within the Hornby Island fire protection service to which the alternative approval process applies is 834, of which 10 per cent, or 83, must submit elector response forms to prevent the CVRD board from adopting the fire hall construction loan authorization bylaw without first obtaining the assent of the electors by way of referendum. December 4 is the first day the AAP forms will be available on the CVRD website and at the front counter of the CVRD head office, 600 Comox Road, Courtenay, and the deadline for receiving completed AAP forms will be 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 15, 2015.
The $1.8 million project would be funded by $1.6 million in debt financing, $100,000 in federal gas tax (Community Works) funding and $100,000 from reserves.
Should the project gain elector approval, borrowed funds will be paid back through “local” or “service area” tax requisition – that is, the property owners on Hornby Island. The net tax increase between 2014 and 2015 to the average property, assessed at approximately $455,000, would be approximately $24 per year.
The current aging fire hall is considered an unsafe workplace and has functional and seismic deficiencies.
The CVRD has secured a one hectare grant of Crown land for the fire hall site located across Central Road from the current fire hall.
More information on the project can be found at www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/hornbyislandfirehall .