Sunshine Valley residents have voted 82 per cent against the creation of an accredited volunteer fire department provided by the Fraser Valley Regional District.
A total of 115 ballots were cast in Saturday’s referendum, with 21 in support and 94 opposed to the proposal. An annual tax requisition of up to $214,000 would have been implemented to pay for the service in the area.
“I believe staff did an excellent job in preparing our proposal and I thank the people for considering it,” said area director Dennis Adamson.
“They asked me to solve their problem, I provided them with a solution and it was up to them — that’s democracy. There’s definitely a need for fire service. They’ve been holding their fire brigade together admirably with fundraisers and grants.”
Kevin Harris of Sunshine Valley Developments and Kevin Demers, president/owner of Holiday Trails RV Resorts, held an open house prior to general voting day to present another opportunity. Adamson said they offered to provide a piece of land directly across from Sunshine Valley RV Resort & Cabins on a 20-year lease, build a three-bay fire hall, purchase two used trucks, and any needed equipment at no cost to residents.
“Times are tough. To add hundreds and hundreds of dollars to your taxes when you could get something for free that may do the job – I understand take the chance and go for that,” he said.
“I’m just happy they’re getting something. I hope that they get some reduction in their insurance, which was one of the reasons we were doing this.”
The FVRD feasibility study quoted a 47 per cent reduction on house insurance with an accredited volunteer fire department in place. Adamson said Harris and Demers have stated they will be able to provide the same.