Hornby Island Fire Hall Project AAP

Background Q & A’s Elector Response Media


Elector approval has not been obtained, by way of the Alternate Approval Process (AAP), for the adoption of a bylaw to borrow funds for the construction of a new fire hall on Hornby Island. Read more in the news release.

Summary

The Hornby Island fire hall construction project (including 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 September 30, 2014 meeting, the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) board approved holding a referendum to seek elector approval. The referendum was postponed by the area director to provide for additional time for community awareness. Upon further reflection and consideration by the select committee and director, an alternate approval process (AAP) is the preferred approach to seeking elector approval. At its October 10, 2014 meeting, the Hornby Island Fire Hall renewal select committee adopted a resolution to proceed with an AAP.  At its October 21, 2014 meeting the CVRD board approved the legislative requirements to conduct the AAP.

December 4 is the first day the AAP elector response form [PDF - 544 KB] will be available on the CVRD website and at the front counter of the CVRD head office, 600 Comox Road, Courtenay. The deadline for receiving completed AAP forms will be 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 15, 2015.

With respect to the Hornby Island fire hall design and architectural drawings, updated information is still being applied. Project staff anticipate presenting this information to the public at a community consultation meeting in late November. The final details are meant to assist the public with making an informed decision about its support for or against the project.

Background

With more than 45 years of service, the Hornby Island fire rescue department has identified a need to replace the aging and unsafe fire hall so as to better serve the citizens of Hornby Island with medical first responder, fire protection, technical rescue, and ambulance services. 

To date, inspections and engineer's reports have found the current fire hall is an unsafe workplace for the fire fighters, has functional and spatial deficiencies and would perform poorly in a moderate earthquake.

The Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) board established in 2008 a select committee of Hornby Island residents to review the inspections and reports and to analyze the options available to address the need.

Based on the recommendations of the select committee, the regional district board has endorsed the option of building a new fire hall on Hornby Island and directed that public consultations begin with the citizens of Hornby Island towards addressing the identified need.

Key Considerations

The select committee of the board and the CVRD value comments and input from the residents and property owners of Hornby Island as this input will help guide the design of a new fire hall that meets the current and future needs of the emergency responders, within an acceptable cost.

Project Rationale

  • The current fire hall building is functionally obsolete and no longer meets the space requirements of multi-service emergency responders.
          
  • The current fire hall land is terraced and has insufficient room for training and parking.
          
  • There is currently no “post disaster” building on Hornby Island.
          
  • The bay doors are too narrow for modern emergency response apparatus.
          
  • There is no secure water source or dedicated septic system available at the current fire hall.
          
  • Hornby Island residents may pursue acquiring the old fire hall from the province for other community      purposes.
          
  • Superior Tanker Shuttle Accreditation can potentially provide a $300 to $500 savings in homeowner insurance premiums. 
         
  • The current fire hall is likely to fail during an earthquake, right when the community requires emergency      responder services the most.
          
  • A new fire hall would provide a safe, functional and efficient work place for volunteer emergency responders.


Project Costs:

  • The $1.9 million project would be funded by $1.6 million in debt financing, $200,000 in federal gas tax funding (Community Works funding) and $100,000 from reserves.
  • Should the project gain elector approval, borrowed funds will be paid back through tax requisition -  based on the $1.6 million estimate, the net increase to the tax levy over 2014, for the average residential property, assessed at approximately $455,000, would be approximately $24 per year.
  • The original feasibility study estimate for the construction of a new fire hall was approximately $2.1 million. In June of 2014 the CVRD and select committee received a preliminary cost estimate of $1.8 million. Following the September 2014 open house and input from the community, the select committee endorsed a resolution to only proceed to elector approval if the design could be amended to achieve a construction cost estimate of $1.8 million or less.
  • Based on the select committee’s resolution the design team then worked with the Hornby Island fire hall users.  On September 29, 2014 they submitted an amended design and cost estimate of $1,786,000. The users of the fire hall are confident that the amended design will be functional and meet user needs.