View Royal fire hall estimated to cost $8 million

Residents who don’t approve of the loan have until July 11 to submit a form to View Royal municipal hall.

Taxpayers in View Royal now know how much they’ll need to shell out to replace the town’s 60 year old firehall.

View Royal councillors have approved moving forward with the process to receive a loan for the new fire hall, now expected to cost just under $8 million.

Only councillor Ron Mattson voted against the timeline, which includes an “alternative approval process,” or counter-petition.

Residents who don’t approve of the loan have until July 11 to submit a form to View Royal municipal hall. Information about the alternative approval process is expected to be mailed out to residents shortly. If a total of 770 forms are returned, council will be forced to hold a referendum or drop the plan.

The number represents about 10 per cent of eligible voters in View Royal.

Borrowing $7.99 million is estimated to result in a 12 per cent increase in property taxes for residents of View Royal, on average about $130 more per home per year, fire chief Paul Hurst said.

The loan amount is based on a predicted loan of 20 years at 4.5 per cent interest. These figures will not be finalized until the loan process can go ahead.

Mattson voted against the motion out of disapproval of the alternative approval process. He described it as “un-democratic” and expressed his desire for a full referendum.

“We need to get the public to come out and give them an opportunity to say yea or nay on it and the alternative approval process doesn’t do it, we’ve made it far too difficult.”

Mayor Graham Hill said all the studies done convinced him to campaign in last year’s mayoral election on moving ahead with the fire hall.

“The benefit of having those services in place and a structure that matches those services, in terms of a post-disaster resource, has convinced me over a number of years this is the right thing to do.”

The loan authorization bylaw will now go to the provincial government for approval by the inspector of Municipalities,View Royal corporate officer Sarah Jones said.

After approval, the town will initiate the counter petition process.

If the bylaw is not successfully opposed, council will have one last vote to move ahead with the loan on July 17.

The loan will be secured through the Capital Regional District, as per the guidelines in the Community Charter legislation.

news@goldstreamgazette.com

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