View Royal residents deserve more options for firehall

If there is a referendum, will there still be lack of clarity?

After reading the Gazette article about “firehall misinformation” (“Fact or fiction?”, June 29), I must say that there is also misinformation in what is being presented by councilor David Screech.

Perhaps if View Royal had provided more detailed information in the brochure that was sent to all residents, then there would be no need to make assumptions about what is meant by a “12 per cent tax increase”. Twelve per cent does seem quite high compared to increases in other municipalities.

I very much doubt that the information circulated by a group of concerned residents falls into the category of “knowingly distributing false information”, because it was so difficult to finally get correct information in my own case.

While I wasn’t involved in putting the “misinformation” together, I can confirm that it took me quite some time and many questions on my part, to find out what exactly was meant by a 12 per cent tax increase and what part of our taxes would be affected. I started asking this question on May 11, well before the brochure was sent out. I finally received a clear answer on June 25.

In my May email I had suggested that most people I had talked with in View Royal didn’t understand that there would be a 12 per cent tax increase if the firehall loan were to proceed and that the method of voicing their opinion was to sign a form that disagreed with the loan (also something they were unaware of). In May, I also suggested that it would be helpful to provide some examples of an average tax bill and how it would be affected, however that wasn’t done.

The main issue is that View Royal residents have not been provided with options and associated costs for various options for a new firehall/training centre, or with clear information about how the Alternative Approval Process (AAP) works. Is it enough to say that “Residents are encouraged to find out more and make an informed decision” etc.?  Why not clearly provide options?

If there is a referendum, will there still be lack of clarity?

Lynn Elwell

View Royal