Fire hall referendum passes

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The referendum to approve borrowing for a new Ganges fire hall has passed by a 75 per cent margin.

Results saw 2,608 ballots in favour and 864 ballots against borrowing $9.7 million for a new fire hall.

Some 7,588 people are on the Salt Spring Island Fire Protection District voters’ list, which makes the voter turnout level 45.7 per cent.

Spoiled or rejected ballot numbers were not provided on Saturday afternoon.

“It’s a wonderful day for the community,” said SSIFPD board chair Rollie Cook.

“It puts aside the negativity of the last few years where people thought nothing can get done on Salt Spring . . . We owe a big debt of gratitude to the Salt Spring community.”

Total project cost is $13.7 million for a 11,500-square-foot building to be located on Lower Ganges Road between Brinkworthy Estates and the Kutatas winery. Twenty per cent of the cost is for contingencies, and inflation costs of eight, five and five per cent in the three building years are also included in the total.

Approximately $3 million dollars of the required funds are already in reserves. A further $1 million in Community Works Fund (federal gas tax) money was contributed by the Capital Regional District, as recommended by electoral area director Gary Holman.

A mail-in ballot process was used, with a June 30 deadline.

The existing Ganges hall was built in 1959. Previous attempts to gain voter approval for a new hall or a land purchase were not successful.

See the July 6 issue of the Driftwood newspaper for more on this story.

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