Potential Bylaw for Fire Protection Services

The community at Mount Washington is another step closer to having a fire service in place. 

Protecting the Mount Washington Alpine Village from fire a step closer.  Photo: Neil Havers
Protecting the Mount Washington Alpine Village from fire a step closer. Photo: Neil Havers

The Comox Valley Regional District has endorsed three recommendations as a result of last year’s Mount Washington Fire Service Study: the creation of a draft borrowing bylaw, development of a property ownership analysis and creation of a service agreement with a fire department.

The draft borrowing bylaw will enable the regional district to pay for the rest of the steps, says James Bast, CVRD Manager of Fire Services. “The draft service bylaw and borrowing bylaw will fund the question on a referendum that will be held for Mount Washington property owners that are eligible to vote,” he said.

The property ownership analysis will identify who is eligible to vote - one of the trickiest questions in the process. “What we’ve found through research is there are still a number of property owners that may not be able to vote in the referendum,” Bast said. If someone has a lease agreement less than 99 years, they are not eligible. If someone has a condo owned by a corporation, that corporation cannot vote because there are no allowances in British Columbia for such a vote. If a property has multiple owners, the property only gets one vote. “Those multiple owners would have to appoint one person to be their voter,” Bast said.

Bast will now begin contacting owners to find out who is eligible, and whether they want to change their ownership status so they can vote. He will also begin talks with Oyster River, Cumberland and Courtenay fire departments to see who can best help them as a fire service provider.  “We have started talking to these local governments to find out their willingness and ability to enter into a service agreement with Mount Washington,” Bast said. “What we’re contemplating is having a service agreement with one entity.”

Bast hopes to hold the referendum later this year, although a date has not yet been set. “We’re still moving through the process."