Creston to continue to provide fire protection to rural areas

With a contract for the Creston Fire Department to provide protection for hundreds of rural properties due to expire at year-end, Area B and C directors have reached an agreement in principle with the Town of Creston to continue the arrangement.

Directors for RDCK Areas B and C have agreed in principle on a contract that will see rural areas receive fire protection services from the Town of Creston.

The agreement gathered momentum following a public information meeting on November 7th that invited rural residents to discuss fire protection and response services for their areas.

With the current agreement for the Town to provide fire protection services for Erickson and Arrow Creek expiring at the end of the year, the agreement builds on the directors stated intent to work toward a single service for the Creston Valley under the auspices of the Creston Fire Department.

Creston voters go to the polls on Saturday to vote on a borrowing referendum that would allow construction of a new fire hall in town after further public consultation.

“Through negotiations with the Town of Creston and the Regional District, I feel that we have come to a cost effective contract that will enhance the opportunity to build a stronger valley wide service and ensure proper coverage for all of our areas and our residents”, Area B director Tanya Wall said last week. “There were 76 people in attendance according to the sign in sheets and we had a full discussion on the future costs. A small survey was conducted which asked the questions, ‘Do you want to see a contract renegotiated with the Town of Creston, including their proposed services and fire hall increases? Do you want to see the RDCK Areas B and C leave the Town of Creston contract and build our own fire hall in Erickson? Would you volunteer to be a fire fighter for the RDCK Area B and C service and complete all of the required training?’ The answers were overwhelmingly in favour of continued support from the Town of Creston.”

Area C director Larry Binks concurred.

“Since I have been an elected official, this has been my second opportunity to be involved in the collaboration of a fire protection services agreement with the Town of Creston. Both RDCK and Town of Creston staff, along with the elected officials continue to work in a positive, productive manner and I am very pleased with the outcome.”

“We’re pleased to have reached agreement in principle on the fire protection services contract with the RDCK,” Mayor Ron Toyota said. “This agreement will see the rural areas of Erickson, Goat River North, parts of the Creston Flats, and parts of Arrow Creek continue to receive the high quality service that our Creston Fire Department provides.”

On Saturday, December 9th, the general voting day for the referendum, Town of Creston residents will be asked, “Are you in favour of the Town of Creston adopting ‘Protective Services Building Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 1861, 2017’ authorizing Council to borrow for the development and construction of a new Fire Hall ($5,300,000), with the potential inclusion of additional space for the BC Ambulance Service ($800,000) as long as the BC Ambulance Service will fully pay its share of the debt servicing costs, for a total sum not exceeding six million one hundred thousand dollars ($6,100,000) repayable over a period of no more than twenty (20) years?”

The Town of Creston taxation impact analysis is based on the revenue received from fire protection services that the Town of Creston provides to Erickson, Arrow Creek and portions of the Creston Flats.

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