The deadline for comments about the bylaw to borrow for a new fire hall in Cumberland has been extended. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Alternate approval process for Cumberland fire hall extended

Anyone opposing bylaw now has until Dec. 13 to contact Village

The alternative approval process (AAP) for Cumberland voters to register any dissent over a proposed new fire hall is getting a little extra time.

The process asks voters if they object to the Village’s decision to borrow up to $4.2 million over 30 years to finance the project.

As it took a little longer than expected for the Province to vet the AAP before it goes to resident and non-resident voters, the Village now needs to extend the deadline for responses.

“We’re bringing this alternative approval process back to council because we were a bit optimistic with how quickly the Inspector of Municipalities could get our loan bylaw back to us,” corporate officer Rachel Parker told council at the Oct. 28 meeting.

The Inspector of Municipalities provides oversight of local government financial matters and approves certain local government decisions if these are consistent with provincial legislation. With approval now, Cumberland can move ahead on the APP.

At the Sept. 30 meeting, Council had passed a motion to proceed with the APP to gain voter assent on the borrowing bylaw. The process was to have a deadline of Dec. 2. The project to replace the fire hall had first been announced at an earlier meeting in September.

At the latest meeting, council voted in favour of a motion for the AAP with a revised date. Any voters that wish to register opposition need to contact the municipal government by the new deadline of Dec. 13.

RELATED STORY: Cumberland’s fire hall borrowing to go for voter assent

The Village is also holding a special open house about the project on Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Village office. This is scheduled to coincide with an open house concerning the upcoming budget process. Staff will also send out a newsletter to the community about the project.

Another change for the AAP is to the response forms. A statement has been added about the protection of privacy, specifically that personal information on the form is being supplied in confidence.

Under the AAP, a minimum of 10 per cent of electors must express opposition on a form available on the Village website by the deadline in order to defeat the borrowing bylaw. Based on the latest number, this threshold is set at 310 voters. The AAP, which had previously been known as a counter-petition is used by local and regional governments as a way to gain electoral assent without going to a referendum.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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