The Kaslo fire hall

Kaslo and Ainsworth fire referendums set

Ainsworth, Woodbury, and Kaslo vote Saturday on the future of fire protection in their area.

Ainsworth, Woodbury, and Kaslo vote Saturday on the future of fire protection in their area.

Kaslo residents are being asked whether they’re willing to turn their municipal fire department into a regional district service with annual taxation of $284,000 and borrow up to $1.6 million to build a new fire hall.

Ainsworth and Woodbury are being asked to approve up to $24,000 a year to establish a service that would see them permanently provided with fire protection from Balfour and Kaslo, enshrining what has been provided on a contract basis the past two years.

Regional District of Central Kootenay fire chief Terry Swan said the figure for the new Kaslo hall includes $400,000 to pay off existing debt from equipment purchases. He’s hopeful the actual cost can be considerably reduced through sponsorships and volunteer labour.

“These are the sort of things I can’t predict nor can I make expectations around,” he said. “I strongly believe it will be under budget. It’s just a matter of the community getting behind it.”

Swan said if the final cost is indeed less, the surplus could be applied to reducing taxation.

The present Kaslo fire hall, built in the 1970s, is attached to the village office. Swan said it doesn’t meet modern building standards, lacks space for equipment and doesn’t have a washroom — firefighters currently use the one in the gas station next door.

“It’s a tough pill to swallow to face that tax increase, but it’s an investment in their future, I believe,” Swan said.

The building would be designed to accommodate all emergency responders in Kaslo, he added, including BC Ambulance once the contract on its present space expires, and search and rescue.

If the new hall is approved, it would be built next to the arena. If the vote fails, the next move will be up to the village. If the Ainsworth referendum fails, they will have no official fire protection.

There are 1,369 people on the Kaslo voters list and 96 on the Ainsworth list. Advance balloting took place last week.

Just Posted

Leafs lose marathon season opener

Nelson fell 3-2 to Fernie in double overtime

Latest round of Columbia River Treaty talks wrap up in Cranbrook

Federal, provincial, U.S. and Indigenous representatives recently met for eight round of discussions

CHECK THIS OUT: Libraries as safe spaces for the homeless

Anne DeGrace writes about an upcoming movie and talk focused on libraries and homelessness

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

PLACE NAMES: Kaslo and Sandon neighbourhoods

Narrow valley saw Sandon’s main street over a creek

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Most Read