PINANTAN — Residents will use a formal petition process to decide if the community wants to establish a fire protection service.
About 130 residents attended a lively meeting in the Pinantan elementary school Monday night to discuss a proposal from the Pinantan East Paul Lake Fire Department Association to set up a fire protection service area and borrow funds to set up a service.
The TNRD hosted the meeting with me as chair in order to provide information on cost implications. Setting up the fire service would include building a fire hall on land already set aside, buying equipment and training volunteers.
Taxation would be administered through the TNRD. A loan would be repaid over 20 years. Finance director Doug Rae said residential taxes, based on an average assessment of $208,693 in 2015, would come to $216.15 per property annually for the service.
Questions about the proposal centered on such things as equipment costs, possible savings on house insurance, and water sources. Staff explained that each resident will have to talk to their insurance agent about any potential savings, and fire association president Cory George said the purpose of the proposal is community safety rather than saving on house insurance.
In a straw poll at the end of the meeting, residents voted strongly in favour of moving to a formal decision. In a second vote they preferred a petition to a referendum. Under the petition process, petitions are distributed to each eligible property. A majority of the property owners, representing 50 per cent or more of the assessments, must support the proposal for it to succeed.
A second meeting will be held in about three weeks on the petition process. Meanwhile, information will be posted on http://www.tnrd.ca.
Elsewhere, 70 Mile residents have decided to hold a referendum on a fire protection financial contribution service. At a meeting April 9 in the 70 Mile Community Hall, the 33 residents in attendance voted in favour of putting it to a referendum. They also decided that the maximum tax requisition should be $30,000 per year.
The referendum date will be set by Victoria.