I value our View Royal volunteer fire department. There is no doubt that there should be a safe and effective building to work from. The proposed new fire hall is a separate issue.
View Royal’s city hall has not made it easy for residents to get the information necessary to make an informed decision.
The “FAQ” sheet distributed by the town in mid-June does not adequately explain the project, provide alternatives or clearly explain that the Alternative Approval Process (AAP) is the means that View Royal has chosen by which the electors must advise local government that, in their opinion, the matter is of such significance that a referendum on borrowing should be held. Nor does it clearly indicate that the AAP requires citizens to obtain, complete and submit the proper form which must be received by the Town of View Royal no later than 4 p.m. Wednesday, July 11.
This form was not sent with the “FAQ” sheet and it appears that it wasn’t posted on the town’s web site until June 28 (the link to the form can be found at the bottom of the article titled “Alternative Approval Process for New Public Safety Building”).
Questions in need of answers:
What are the alternatives to building such a large fire hall? Could not View Royal, with population of 9,393, partner with a neighbouring community? If View Royal and Colwood were one municipality would there be two such fire stations – or just one main station and a substation?
Once the new hall is occupied, why isn’t selling the current site mandatory, with the proceeds going towards reducing long term debt?
View Royal’s 2012 five year financial plan (available on their website) anticipates a municipal tax increase of 16.93 per cent for 2013 over 2012, which appears to be mainly due to increased capital spending. How complete and realistic is the town’s long term capital spending forecast? Does it adequately project infracturure replacement for at least the next 10 years – or is the forecasted capital spending underestimated?
How reliable are the estimates for the capital projects anticipated for 2012 and 2013? Will the $8 million turn into $12 million or more?
Capital projects take a significant amount of time, effort and money and there are always a number of worthy competing projects. The magnitude of the projects demand careful and thoughtful consideration and understanding of the alternatives, not a deal done through a back door AAP that few people understand. We should demand complete information and fiscal responsibility.
If you agree more information is required before over $8 million dollars is committed, sign and deliver the AAP form to View Royal town hall today.