Mount Washington Fire Protection
Property owners at Mount Washington Alpine Resort have voted in favour of establishing a fire protection service at Mount Washington.
A Referendum held September 17 yielded a 102–19 vote in favour of the service. All that was needed for the Referendum to pass was a simple majority (50% plus one), explained James Bast, Manager of Fire Services for the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD). There were approximately 300 eligible voters in the Mount Washington Resort Community, according to CVRD Chief Electoral Officer James Warren; turnout for the referendum was 40 per cent.
Bast wasted no time in implementing the next steps in the process: he built a proposed budget for the Service, which has to be approved by the CVRD Board by March 2017. He also started negotiating with neighbouring Fire Departments on their willingness to send a crew up to the Resort in the event of a fire: he needs to choose one Department with which to sign a service agreement, he explained.
The proposed budget, completed after the Marmot went to press, takes into account potential contract costs with a fire department, constructing a storage building and all the fire fighting equipment necessary for a functional fire service. “Once the budget is approved we can work towards concrete pieces that make this a functional fire service delivery,” he said.
Property owners will see a levy on their property taxes beginning in 2017 that will pay for the fire service. If everything goes according to plan, adds Bast, Mount Washington could see fire service in place by late 2017. “If everything goes right we should have a building equipped and a fire service with a department by late fall 2017.”
Bast acknowledged the mountain-specific help he had in creating this plan, and said having a direct voice from stakeholders was vital to the fire protection service proposal passing so convincingly. “One of the key pieces to this was the Steering Group - the Steering Group was absolutely invaluable for going through this process,” Bast said. “They brought forward a local perspective I would never have had. I truly appreciate it. What we’ve got now [Fire Protection Service Plan] was born on the mountain.”
For more information on the fire services process at Mount Washington Alpine Resort, go online to www.comoxvalleyrd.ca and follow the links to Mount Washington Fire Services.