Safety Building Plans Progressing
Plans for a combined fire hall and public safety building at Mount Washington are progressing, says Jay Oddleifson, Director of Property Development and Finance at the Alpine Resort.
" What we're trying to do is create a fire service area up on the mountain. That involves going to the taxpayers up here and putting a petition to them," asking if they would approve raising taxes in order to pay for a fire hall, he said.
At the end of October the Resort donated a piece of land - across from the entrance to the first parking lot - to the Regional District of Comox-Strathcona for a Public Safety Building. If all goes according to plan, the building will house a fire department, ambulance station and a community police storefront for the RCMP, as well as serve the mountain's first aid needs. Bob Nelson of Vancouver is conducting a feasibility study on fire protection needs at Mount Washington. The results of this study will determine the size and scope of the building, Oddleifson said. Once the study is done the Regional District can draft a bylaw and petition mountain homeowners for their opinion.
Stakeholders will likely vote on such a bylaw in mid- to late-season. " If that's successful we'll be starting construction on a fire hall as early as the spring," he said.
Oddleifson didn't have any numbers on building costs - that remains to be determined according to Nelson's study - but said the building will have to conform to the design standards on Mount Washington. Oddleifson is optimistic that a deal can be reached for the public safety building. "It's been a long time in coming," he said. "It's overdue. If we have any chance to develop and grow, we certainly need this type of amenity."
RCMP Constable Dean Maxwell is also optimistic about plans for a Public Safety Building. "The RCMP has a set of plans and wishes for the design and we certainly appreciate being included," he said. Maxwell has met with strata councils as well as resort and regional district representatives to discuss the building's preliminary design and function. "It's certainly something that's needed."