Peachland fire chief cautiously optimistic voters will approve loan for new Protective Services building in referendum – West Kelowna News

The Peachland District Fire Chief is cautiously optimistic he will get the go-ahead from voters to borrow money for a new protective services building.

People who vote in municipal elections also have the option of voting on the referendum question which reads as follows: “Do you favor the passage by the Corporation of the District of Peachland of the Borrowing Authority By-law No. 2364 of 2022 for Protective Services Buildings, to authorize the borrowing of up to seventeen million five hundred thousand dollars ($17,500,000), over thirty (30) one year, to fund the construction of a new protective services building to house the fire department?”

Leader Dennis Craig wants to make sure voters have all the information they need before they head to the polls.

“What we want is for people to vote knowingly. We had comments from the public even after the advance poll where they did not have correct information regarding the referendum question.

“We really want to make sure that when people go to vote on Saturday, they vote with the right information and all the information.”

Craig admits this is no easy task in these times of soaring inflation.

“It’s an impact. By 2026, if this goes ahead, it’s going to be a $125 increase in package taxes for every package in Peachland. So about a little over $10 a month, or you know, a double scoop ice cream cone once a month. For some people that’s a lot.”

However, he points out that staying in the old fire station is not a viable alternative.

“It’s been a question, you know, what if the referendum isn’t successful? And it’s inevitable that we’ll need a new fire station later on.

“The current installation does not respect the health and safety standards in force, it does not respect the building code in force. Investing money in this building is really an exercise in futility. It’s just not renovable,” adds Craig.

He recently took a video tour of the existing building to show voters just how bad it is.

One of the biggest concerns is the lack of showers for firefighters to decontaminate when they return from a call.

“From a health and safety perspective, our members come back from a structural fire with all the contaminants on their bodies. And unfortunately they have to take those contaminants back to their loved ones because we don’t have facilities here for them to shower and clean up,” he also points out that there is no space to add showers and the only option would be a trailer behind the fire station.

The chief says that if the referendum fails, they will have to scramble to find ways to ensure the health and safety of firefighter volunteers.

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