No decision yet on Qualicum Beach fire hall

One resident suggests eliminating tax-exempt status for community organizations will help

Tough decisions remain for Qualicum Beach town council as it tries to decide how to spend $1.8 million for capital projects in 2013.

Staff put forward its priorities and a couple of residents gave their input at council’s regular meeting Monday night. It’s part of a financial-plan-approval process that has included some heated debate at a recent committee of the whole, and some pointed comments from a couple of residents Monday night.

The process may end this fall with the adoption of the financial plan and 2013 budget. Or perhaps not until until Spring 2013. It may mean a new fire hall for Qualicum Beach, extensive Memorial Avenue improvements, a new boat ramp and more. Or none of the above.

Clearly it’s a moving target, and resident Deborah McKinley urged council to take aim outside the box by cancelling the tax-exempt status 23 separate organizations in town, like churches, museums, golf clubs, service clubs, TOSH and others.

McKinley suggested collecting taxes from these organizations for the next three years would allow the city to collect $815,000 more in taxes.

“That’s approximately one-quarter (the cost) of the new fire hall,” she said, adding that many of these “competent entities” have “enviable financial statements.”

McKinley cited safety concerns, especially as they relate to the earthquake-readiness of the existing facility, as her main motivation to get this fire hall project happening right away.

“When the big one happens, I would like to think the fire department will be fully functional and not immobilized by a building that comes crashing down,” she said.

Another resident, former Mayor Art Skipsey, told council he sees “no signs of restraint” in the way the town currently spends tax dollars.

“Every weed picker has his own truck,” said Skipsey.

Town council took it all in without comment.

The town’s financial administrator, John Marsh, presented staff’s capital-purchase priorities for 2013, which totalled about $800,000 and included culvert relining on Yambury Road, other sewage/drainage work and rebuilding the town’s boat ramp, which Marsh said is “beyond repair.”

Coun. Bill Luchtmeijer said he didn’t believe the timing was right to approve any work on the boat ramp.

“That needs to be put on the back burner until we decide what we’re doing with the waterfront master plan,: he said.

Council gave the bylaw related to the financial plan second reading, and it’s expected the plan and further discussion about priorities and the fire hall will be part of council’s next regular meeting Oct. 22.


Just Posted

Order in the chambers: Qualicum Beach votes for council code of conduct

Coun. Robert Filmer’s motion passes unanimously at town meeting

Rainbow crosswalk in Qualicum Beach covered in mysterious black substance

‘It was disappointing to see this act of disrespect take place inside our community’

Oceanside RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Nanoose Bay’s Northwest Bay Road again open to the public

Single-lane alternating traffic expected to stretch into September

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town hit by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

Most Read