Letter to the Editor,
There has been considerable debate about the upcoming Fire Hall referendum. I’ve read the publications from both the No side and the Town. I also attended one of the open houses that the town hosted.
Many of the issues brought up by the No side are misleading and meant to sensationalize their side. While they say they care deeply about our town and our firefighters their words have the opposite effect.
It is a fact that WCB has determined that the present fire hall does not meet the current standards in a few areas. Retrofitting the present hall is not physically viable or financially prudent.
Our Fire Department would not exist without volunteers. Without these volunteers, we would have significantly higher home insurance costs. We ask these volunteers to carry out duties that expose them to many toxic chemicals. Without proper decontamination facilities, those contaminates can end up in their personal vehicles and even in their own homes. Our First Responders are also exposed to situations that can bring on PTSD and having a safe environment to decompress after calls is essential. I have, in the past, worked very closely with First Responders and they must have the proper tools to do what they do, whether those are physical tools or support services. We as members of this community make up part of those support services.
Some of the issues brought up by the No side would make you think that the town is going to borrow the entire amount, $6.1 million, needed to build the new Fire Hall. The town has taken the lead, like they should, and is now trying to secure funding for the project through the referendum. What the No side doesn’t tell you, is there has to be funding secured in order to proceed. According to the towns publication, the Town of Creston share would be $3.82 million which can be reduced through grants, fundraising, and donations.
How long is the No side willing to set the project back in order to possibly save money. Be aware that while they are trying to reduce the budget, inflation still factors in and in the long run we may be getting a second-rate Fire Hall that costs more than the current proposal. I lived in a community in Alberta that wanted to build a new Rec Centre. The original plan would have been everything the community wanted but, as delays happened, the costs went up. Finally, the Rec Centre was built but it was scaled back considerably and cost more than the first plan.
I just touched on a few of the issues surrounding this referendum. I urge everyone to carefully read “The Top Ten Reasons to Vote No” and the flyer “A Proposed New Fire Hall for the Town of Creston”. While you’re reading these documents, keep my above thoughts in mind.
Mike Gibbons, Creston