This map from the Cariboo Regional District shows the Barlow Creek fire protection area. (Cariboo Regional District map)

This map from the Cariboo Regional District shows the Barlow Creek fire protection area. (Cariboo Regional District map)

Barlow Creek fire truck alternate approval process ends March 2

The Cariboo Regional District needs to replace an aging fire engine

Barlow Creek residents who are opposed to the Cariboo Regional District borrowing funds for a new fire truck must submit their Elector Response Form by March 2.

The Cariboo Regional District (CRD)’s Alternate Approval Process (AAP) for a new fire truck for the Barlow Creek Volunteer Fire Department is coming to a close.

One of the Barlow Creek volunteer fire department’s fire trucks is due for replacement in 2020 in order to meet certification requirements, according to the CRD.

The CRD thinks the best purchasing option is through a 10-year debt financing model and needs permission to enter into debt financing arrangements that exceed five years in term. The CRD has entered into an AAP process, which is a “reverse” form of public assent where the CRD will go ahead and purchase the fire truck with 10-year financing unless 10 per cent of residents in the fire protection area object and submitted signed Elector Response Forms. If 10 per cent or more of the electors submit signed forms, the proposal would go to a full referendum, and if the referendum failed, the CRD would purchase the truck through its former five-year financing model.

The CRD says the fire truck will cost approximately $455,000, and using 10-year financing will have less impact on taxes because the CRD will be able to spread out the cost of the purchase over 10 years instead of five years. The Barlow Creek Volunteer Fire Department will also be able to save up for future maintenance and truck replacement requirements.

The CRD says the Barlow Creek fire protection area budget will see an overall tax increase of 3.4 per cent each year over the next five-year financial plan (2020-2024), which includes both the property and parcel tax, if the fire truck is replaced using 10-year financing.

If the fire truck was purchased with five-year financing, there would need to be a 25-per-cent property tax increase in 2020 and a 3.5-per-cent increase in years 2021 to 2024, according to the CRD.

If the AAP is successful and public assent is attained, the CRD will adopt a bylaw that authorizes borrowing up to $500,000 over 10 years to replace the aging fire engine for the Barlow Creek Fire Protection Service. The service area is a portion of Electoral Areas B (Quesnel West – Bouchie Lake) and (Bowron Lake – Barlow Creek – Barkerville).

If you are a qualified elector in the Barlow Creek fire protection area and you are fine with the CRD using 10-year financing to purchase a new fire truck in 2020, you do not need to do anything.

If you are opposed, you must submit an Elector Response Form by March 2.

Visit cariboord.ca/services/emergency-and-protective-services/firedepartments for more information about the AAP and access to Elector Response Forms.

READ MORE: Barlow Creek Volunteer Fire Department needs new fire truck to meet certification



editor@quesnelobserver.com

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