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At its September 30, 2014 meeting, the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) Board approved holding a referendum to seek elector approval for the Hornby Island Fire Hall construction project, which had been identified as an operational priority. Upon further consideration, an alternate approval process (AAP) was preferred.

Elector response forms were received for this AAP between December 4, 2014 and January 15, 2015.

Background

With more than 45 years of service, the Hornby Island Fire Rescue Department had identified a need to replace the aging and unsafe fire hall so as to better serve the citizens of Hornby Island. Inspections and engineers’ reports had found the current fire hall to be unsafe, with functional, spatial and seismic deficiencies.

In 2008, the CVRD Board had established a select committee of Hornby Island residents to review the inspections and reports and analyze options to address the need. Based on the recommendations of the select committee, the board endorsed the option of building a new fire hall on Hornby Island.

If approved, 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. Borrowed funds would be paid back through tax requisition. 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.

Results

In order for the CVRD to proceed with the final adoption of Bylaw No. 350, less than 10 per cent of the electors in the Hornby Island Fire Protection Service area would have had to submit an elector response form. In the case of the proposed loan authorization bylaw, the total number of electors within the service was 834; 10 per cent of that number, or 83, would have had to submit an elector response form to prevent the CVRD from adopting Bylaw No. 350 without going to referendum.

At the close of the process on January 15, 2015, 212 elector response forms had been received from the electors in the service area.

Elector approval was not obtained by way of this AAP for the adoption of a bylaw to borrow funds for the construction of a new fire hall on Hornby Island.