The public has given its approval for the construction of a fire hall at Mount Washington, as per results of an Alternative Approval Process (AAP) that garnered just seven elector response forms, three of which were deemed ineligible.
Less than 10 per cent of electors in the service area needed to submit a form in order for the Comox Valley Regional District board to proceed with final adoption of a loan authorization bylaw.
The purpose of the bylaw is to borrow an amount not to exceed $1,425,000 to finance costs of constructing and equipping the fire hall. The loan is to be paid back over a period not exceeding 30 years. For a property in the service area assessed at $500,000, the increase in yearly property tax is estimated at $123.
At the April 12 board meeting, Area C director Edwin Grieve thanked staff for working with a Mt. Washington steering group to help make the project happen. He noted some “near misses” and plenty of lost property due to fires over the years at the mountain.
“We’ve been fortunate in that we have not, touch wood, lost any lives,” Grieve said. “I know it’s a small service area. Fire departments cost a lot of money. It’s my hope that by establishing the fire department up there, we can bring some relief around insurance, and for the homeowners.”
Grieve thinks the addition of a fire department could result in some growth on the mountain in terms of tourist services. He notes hotels aren’t interested in opening in alpine resort communities unless fire protection is available.
“Maybe we can see a little upgrading of the facilities on Mt. Washington as we go forward,” Grieve said.