Saanich-Gulf Islands MP Elizabeth May has added her voice to leaders urging public support for the Salt Spring fire hall referendum.
“I am writing in support of the proposed new fire hall project on Salt Spring Island,” May wrote in a June 15 letter. “I generally do not take a position on local issues that fall outside federal jurisdiction; however, we know that more emergency situations are likely to arise due to the climate crisis.
“It is critical that the Salt Spring Island community seizes this opportunity to be better prepared for emergencies and extreme events. This proposal must be accepted.
“Salt Spring Island is in dire need of a modern public-safety building. Taxpayers have an opportunity to vote ‘yes’ to borrow $9.7 million, without increasing taxes, by supporting the referendum. Salt Spring Island is significantly underserved. Residents deserve access to quality community safety infrastructure now and into the future.”
A referendum campaign press release notes that local MLA Adam Olsen, Salt Spring Capital Regional District (CRD) director Gary Holman and Transition Salt Spring chair Bryan Young have all publicly encouraged people to support the proposal.
Approval by Salt Spring Island Fire Protection District ratepayers to borrow $9.7 million to build an 11,500-square-foot building on donated land near Brinkworthy is being sought through a mail-in ballot process this month. An additional $3 million in reserve funds and a $1 million federal gas tax fund contribution through the CRD are also available for the project. No new property taxes are needed to build the facility as the debt can be repaid through existing levies.
The deadline for receipt of completed ballots at the Ganges fire hall, in person or via mail, is Thursday, June 30 at 4:30 p.m.
Project details are at saltspringfire.com.