Cariboo Regional District votes to offer one referendum question for fringe fire protection agreement

Cariboo Regional District votes to offer one referendum question for fringe fire protection agreement after a special board meeting Friday.

Changes have been made to the upcoming Cariboo Regional District fringe fire protection referendum set to take place Nov. 24. 

Instead of two separate referendum questions for fringe area D, E and F residents, as previously approved by the CRD, residents will now only answer one question.

They will be asked whether or not they want to continue to receive fire protection from the Williams Lake Fire Department, based on a cost of approximately $129 per $100,000 of assessed value.

If the referendum fails, residents will be without fire protection as of Dec. 31, 2012 when present agreements in place expire.

The decision comes after a special CRD board meeting was held Friday afternoon. 

Chair Al Richmond said he called the meeting because the CRD received petitions from residents living within 13 km of the 150 Mile Volunteer Fire Department about the referendum question covering their area.

That original referendum question asked those residents whether they wanted their fire protection to be provided by the 150 Mile House Volunteer Fire Department at an approximate rate of $68 per $100,000 of residential assessment. 

Of the petitions received, 24 people said they wanted to remain under Williams Lake fire protection, 11 people wanted to move out of the Williams Lake boundary to that of 150 Mile, and one person wanted no fire protection.

“When we received the petitions I wasn’t going to call the meeting unless a director requested one. When I did get that request, I convened the meeting to let the board make the decision. As you saw today, the board chose to reconsider the motion we passed on Oct. 4 when we approved two referendum questions,” Richmond said.

At the special board meeting, Area F director Joan Sorley said she had received several phone calls and e-mails in the last two days with the majority of people in her area saying they wanted to opt for fire protection with 150 Mile House.

Half a dozen members of the public sitting in the CRD board room during the meeting said afterwards they were there because they wanted to opt for 150 Mile House because it’s much cheaper at $68 per $100,000 of assessed value.

All members of the board attended the teleconference meeting, except for Area K director Chad Mennett.

Those in attendance voted in favour of going with one referendum question, except for Area F director Joan Sorely and Area D director Deb Bischoff. 

“I am very disappointed,” Sorley said afterwards. “I feel like I’ve let down my constituents because I don’t think they will get the best deal. It is my job, though, to support the board’s decision and that’s my intent to make sure people get enough information to make an informed choice, and that it’s important they vote.”

Mayor Kerry Cook said the original referendum question for Area F residents living within 13 km of 150 Mile House only gave people the option to go with 150 Mile House or have no fire protection.

“The city’s position is not to influence the referendum, but giving the option of no fire protection at all was not something we were in support of. We want to make sure people have all the information and the choice to continue with fire protection,” Cook said.

Sorley told the Tribune there’s no point in going back and revisiting what happened; however the Area F question wasn’t as easy because the CRD didn’t receive many surveys from those constituents.

That is something Richmond addressed at the meeting’s close. 

“Fifteen surveys from 200 people is not many. The silence was not golden and we found ourselves at a dilemma at the eleventh hour because of it,” he said.

Bischoff was visibly upset after the meeting and said she supported Sorley’s desire to represent her constituents.

“If director Sorley says that the majority of her people wanted to go with the original referendum then I support her,” she said.

She also voiced disappointed that more time wasn’t spent consulting with the community, and that it took so long for an agreement to be presented.

“The cities of Williams Lake, Quesnel, and the Regional District received letters in October 2010 from the province notifying that it wanted to opt out for fire protection service delivery,” Bischoff said. 

“This is really important. Sixteen hundred property owners need to be provided with fire protection, that is the issue. I also think that recent comments being made to the media are getting in the way of this looming deadline.”

If the referendum passes and there are people that want to opt out and come under  protection from 150 Mile House later then the CRD could help get together a petition, Sorley said. “Although that is not an option at this point,” she emphasized. 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kari, a 12-year-old Belted Galloway, produced triplets Wednesday, April 28 at Bridge Creek Ranch. (Kelly Sinoski photo -100 Mile Free Press).
Holy cow: triplets born in 100 Mile House

Linda and Don Savjord witnessed a rare experience last week at Bridge Creek Ranch.

Fireman’s Fairways between Chimney and Felker lakes is slated to open soon, following a clean up work bee this Sunday, May 9 starting at 10 a.m. (Photo submitted)
Cleanup slated for Sunday, May 9 at Fireman’s Fairways Golf Course

Fireman’s Fairway is an 11-hole, par 3 course, opened in 1994

A vial of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The White House says it is making plans to share up to 60 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 11,075 since the pandemic began

Williams Lake City Hall. (City of Williams Lake photo)
Williams Lake long-term debt decreasing

The city of Williams Lake’s long-term debt sits at $8,324,241, down from… Continue reading

Lakers Car Club members Paul Christianson (from left), Jake Derksen and Frank Ruyter stand alongside a 1977 Rolls Royce the club will be auctioning off in lieu of the annual Spring Roundup. (Photo submitted)
Lakers Car Club raffling 1977 Rolls Royce in lieu of annual Spring Roundup

The Lakers would like to the thank the residents and businesses of Williams Lake for their support

FILE – Pharmacist Barbara Violo shows off a vile of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the Junction Chemist, an independent pharmacy in Toronto, Friday, March 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Looking for the nearest COVID shot? Tech entrepreneur creates texting software in B.C

Zain Manji says app took just one or two hours to create

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A picture of Shirley Ann Soosay was rendered from a postmortem photographer and circulated on social media. (DDP graphic)
B.C. genealogist key to naming murder victim in decades-old California cold case

In July 1980, Shirley Ann Soosay was raped and stabbed to death

Mary Kitagawa was born on Salt Spring Island and was seven years old when she was interned along with 22,000 B.C. residents in 1942. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds health services for survivors of Japanese internment

Seniors describe legacy of World War II displacement

Meghan Gilley, a 35-year-old emergency room doctor and new mom was vaccinated from COVID-19 in January, while she was pregnant. She’s encouraging others to do the same. (Submitted)
‘The best decision’: B.C. mom encourages other pregnant women to get COVID-19 shot

Meghan Gilley, 35, delivered a healthy baby after being vaccinated against the virus while pregnant

Former Vernon Panthers football standout Ben Hladik of the UBC Thunderbirds (top, in a game against the Manitoba Bisons, <ins>making one of his 38 Canada West solo tackles in 2019</ins>), was chosen in Tuesday’s 2021 Canadian Football League draft. (Rich Lam - UBC Thunderbirds photo)
B.C. Lions call on Vernon standout in CFL draft

Canadian Football League club selects former VSS Panthers star Ben Hladik in third round of league draft

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after B.C. river could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

Commissioner Austin Cullen, lawyer Brock Martland, and former cabinet minister and Langley East MLA Rich Coleman, as Coleman testified before the money laundering commission on Wednesday, April 28. Coleman has been recalled for May 14. (Screengrab)
Langley’s Coleman returns for second round of testimony at money laundering hearings

The former longtime Liberal MLA and cabinet minister will testify May 14.

(File photo)
B.C. child-killer’s escorted-leave ‘beyond disappointing’: victim’s mother

Shane Ertmoed was convicted of first-degree murder in the 2000 death of 10-year-old Heather Thomas

Most Read