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New Fire Hall – To Be Or Not To Be?

    Editorial & Opinions, Election Candidates, Fire & Police    April 8, 2019

Salt Spring property owners have had the opportunity to review and vote upon a number of proposals for a replacement of the Ganges Fire Hall. All have been defeated but it’s time to look a little more closely at the reasons for the proposals and the reasons for the defeat.

The Ganges Fire Hall has provided service since 1959. Most residents are aware that it was built on landfill, and should the Island suffer a major disaster, such as an earthquake, our Fire Hall, our rescue vehicles, and our personnel would disappear.

That in and of itself provides the reason to construct a new Fire Hall at a new location. But there are more reasons.

Our existing Hall is quaint, and some say sufficient. I disagree. It cannot house today’s standard “ladder truck” – a needed rescue vehicle. The current Hall was built for small pumper trucks. Limiting our equipment to pumper trucks jeopardizes our safety. We must be able to provide fire safety to any structure needed and approved by our community.

Why were previous proposals defeated? Because of the cost. Let’s look seriously at that. There is no need for a “state of the art” Fire Hall, but there is a need for a Hall that will allow us to provide 24 / 7 safety to Salt Spring residents for the foreseeable future. Our design must be scaled down to be appropriate to the size of our community and its needs.

Being fiscally responsible does not eliminate replacing our Ganges Fire Hall. We require it for our safety. A new Hall could be constructed for a very modest increase to taxpayers – equal to the cost of one large latte or similar “specialty” coffee per month. I’m in for that 100%!

Salt Spring needs a new fire hall, and there can’t be any more excuses. If you care about our island’s fire service, please vote for JO MACDONALD and ANDREAS GEDEON at the advance poll on Wednesday, April 24 or on voting day – Monday, April 29 between 9am and 5pm at the Ganges Fire Hall Training Room.

We will get the job done.

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