Highway rescues in jeopardy

Referendum needs voter support to continue service

Area residents who wish to ensure emergency personnel are available with the training and equipment to get them out if they are ever trapped in a crashed vehicle will want to vote on an important referendum on Aug. 29.

If the proposal fails at the polls, all highway rescue services in the South Cariboo will cease on Dec. 31 (with the possible exception of the Lone Butte fire service area).

The reason for the referendum is because the District of 100 Mile House has stated increased costs for training and equipment have left an unmanageable and unfair burden on 100 Mile House Fire-Rescue, which performs the service in the South Cariboo.

To continue, it will need Cariboo Regional District (CRD) funding contributions.

The CRD has wrapped up its series of subregional open houses intended to educate taxpayers and answer questions about the potential impacts of a South Cariboo Highway Rescue Service Enhancement agreement.

CRD protective services manager Rowena Bastien said the tax impacts are very small for such an important service – for 2015, it will be $1.41 per $100,000 of property assessment.

The low cost may be why only three people turned out to the meeting held in 108 Mile Ranch on July 28 and just four (aside from fire department members) went to Forest Grove on July 22. However, a better attendance was seen at the Interlakes Community Centre on July 23.

Meanwhile, Bastien expressed the CRD’s concern that taxpayers might mistakenly think “someone else” will voice approval for a “no-brainer” to keep such an important service with only a minimal cost.

The reality is, if too few folks turn out to the polls on Aug. 29, the vote could be slanted in a direction the majority of South Cariboo residents might not want it to go, she explained.

The general consensus at the meetings, including at the Interlakes open house which about 40 people attended, has been in favour of the enhanced services, she adds.

Bastien notes the most common questions at all three public meetings surrounded what potential there might be for a hike in taxation later, should the referendum successfully pass and highway rescue service continue.

Since this referendum involves a maximum annual taxation of the higher of $40,000 or the new tax requisitions (if they climb higher than that through assessment increases), any further tax increase would require another referendum approval, she explained.

The maximum is set at $0.0192/$1,000, or $1.92 per $100,000 of total property assessment, she noted.

The highway rescue enhancement contribution would establish a service to provide a contribution of funds to the District of 100 Mile House for the continued provision of highway rescue services in Electoral Areas H, L, and a portion of G. (A small northwest segment of Area G is covered by another, non-CRD service.)

However, Bastien said if volunteer fire departments did find the means to take this on in their own communities, costs would be greater for service area residents.

That’s because of the expensive rescue equipment (such as Jaws of Life and tools used to cut open crushed vehicles) and training that won’t likely be shared across the greater areas.

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Annual Festival of the Arts wraps up with showcase evening

Students performed award-winning instrumental and piano compositions, songs, and poetry

Interior Health to offer clinics at schools to catch-up on measles vaccinations

Interior Health to hold clinics at schools offering measles immunization catch-up program

PSO girl’s soccer team places 12th in Hope tournament

The team was short players throughout its first tournament with new coach Nicole Weir

Ecosystem restoration burn planned for Churn Creek area

The BC Wildfire Service will conduct the 100-hectare burn sometime between April 17 and May 17

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Man airlifted to hospital after apparent hunting incident in East Kootenay

The man was in stable condition when he was flown out of Fairmont Hot Springs to a Calgary hospital

Police probe eight fires set at B.C. elementary school

Nanaimo RCMP say fires appear to have been set intentionally

Most Read