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Boundary Changes

Boundary Changes

November 5th, 2008  · stk

OKAY ... It's not as important as voting for the President of the United States, but there's a local election that will expand the Fire Protection Boundaries in our area. Even though I can't vote, I'm urging residents to vote "YES". Find out why

North Cedar Improvement District Voting on Nov 15th

Cedar and Yellow Point residents will be voting to elect an RDN Area "A" Director on November 15th. Some property owners will also be voting on a referendum to expand the NCID/NCFD fire protection and emergency response boundaries.

Voting will be held at the North Cedar Intermediate School (2215 Gould Road, in Cedar) on Saturday, November 15th, from 8 AM till 8 PM.

I can't vote because I'm a permanent resident (not a Canadian citizen), but I can urge you to vote for your choice of Directors and "YES" to the referendum question:

Are you in favour of the North Cedar Improvement District extending its fire protection boundaries in order to provide fire and emergency response services to properties in the Yellow Point - South Cedar area at an estimated cost of $70 per year plus $66 per $100k of assessed property value?

There's not much information on the Internet about this fire protection expansion, so I thought I'd put some out there.

Residents who vote "YES will be closer to their fire hall (receive faster fire and emergency service), they'll actually have ownership of both their fire hall and the equipment, they'll also gain voting rights and they may save money through lower homeowner insurance premiums. It just makes sense to vote "YES".

For more about the referendum, a comparison chart that clearly shows why a "YES" vote is the right vote and a map of the affected areas ... carry on ...

Boundary Extension Information and Comparisons

A little while ago, Joe Burnett, current Area "A" Director, sent out a mailing that does a fairly good job of comparing what a "YES" vote means and what a "NO" vote means.

Joe explained that South Cedar and Yellow Point Area property owners have been receiving fire protection under a Service Contract with the CVRD, through the North Oyster Fire Department, for more than 30 years. Residents have paid anywhere from 42% to 47% of the NOFD's annual budget without retaining any ownership in the NOFD fire hall or any of their equipment. Not only don't residents own the hall or equipment, but they don't get to vote in CVRD elections that affect the NOFD (e.g., the plans, cost or location of the new, $2.5MM fire hall).

The RDN reviewed both the operational and financial effects of changing the NCID fire protection boundaries, including the impact to property owners resulting from the CVRD building a new fire hall for the NOFD. They found that residents would be contributing 42% of the $2.5MM cost (just over a million dollars) via a parcel tax of approximately $115, annually.

Their in-depth review showed that land owners and residents would benefit both financially and operationally if they were included in the fire protection service area covered by the North Cedar Improvement District (North Cedar Fire Department).

The North Cedar Fire Department has already has a new fire hall (completed in 2005), the hall is actually closer to most of the affected residents (translating into faster response times and lower insurance rates), residents would also have ownership over their hall and equipment and they would also have voting rights on issues that affect their fire hall.

A Comparison of Fire Protection Referendum Options
Comparison Item NOFD | No Vote NCFD | Yes Vote
Annual Cost (per $100k) $49 $66
Need to Build a Hall Yes Already Built (2005)
Voting Rights No Yes
Parcel Tax (Hall Costs) $115 $70
Ownership in Hall/Equipment No Yes
Distance/Response Time Further/Slower Closer/Faster

Properties in the Yellow Point area, within the RDN, lie outside the standard 8-kilometer response distance from North Oyster Fire Department and are classified as "unprotected" for insurance purposes. These residents are likely paying higher property fire insurance premiums, as a result. A "Yes" vote could actually save residents money on their homeowners insurance!

So, the question put to residents and land-owners, living in the affected area is this: Do you want to become part of the North Cedar Improvement District and share in the ownership of the North Cedar Fire Department (both buildings and equipment), receive a faster response time, possibly lower your fire insurance premiums, and vote about things that affect your fire hall ... or ... do you want your tax money to continue to go for fire protection services without any other benefits?

Joe can't say it, but I can ... a "YES" vote makes sense and as a resident living within the affected area, I urge you to vote "YES" (even though I can't vote because I'm not a Canadian citizen)

Disclaimer: My recommendation has nothing to do with the fact that I'm an active member in the North Cedar Fire Department. In fact, as a fire hall member, I'd prefer keeping the size of our district small, as it means fewer calls and fewer times that I have to get up in the middle of the night or run out in the middle of the day. My recommendation stems from the fact that I live in the affected area and as a resident, I want faster service, ownership in our own fire hall, lower homeowner insurance rates and a hall that's closer to us.

If you live in the Yellow Point area of the Regional District of Nanaimo and have either a Nanaimo or Ladysmith postal address, or the South Cedar area of the RDN, you might be affected if you live on any of the following streets:

  • Whiting Way
  • Roberts Road
  • Hertal Road
  • Yellow Point Road
  • Roper Road
  • McGuire Way
  • Butler Blvd
  • Virago Road
  • Juriet Road
  • Wildberry Road
  • Twin Oaks Drive
  • Graham Road
  • South side of Farrar Road
  • Giovando Road
  • Norman Road
  • Hill Road
  • Quennell Road
  • Rosalie Road
  • Cedar Road
  • Bennie Road
  • Haslam Road
  • Paterson Road
  • Adshead Road
  • Hilbert Road
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Updated: 6-Nov-2008
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1.flag Dad Comment
You should email this piece to the local newspaper as a letter to the editor. It explains the situation clearly and fairly, and I believe would produce positive results on election day.
2.flag Not A NCFD Supporter Comment
seems you are a little one sided on this issue. do you realize the affected residents were not allowed to speak or vote on the ncfd hall when it was proposed, but now are expected to pay for it. for many residents the reponse distance from ncfd will more than double. that cvrd can in noway make force the rdn to pay for their fire hall. that for the past 15 years rdn has held 3 of the 7 seats on north oysters fire dept commision. mr burnett would like us to believe it is good deal for all, but really it is only a good deal for a few.
3.flag stk Comment
I think I've presented a balanced argument, but you may be right, my case may be a bit one-sided. If it is, it's because we live outside the 8-kilometer protection limit.

Of course the affected residents didn't vote on the North Cedar Fire Department hall - duh - they were already committed to funding 40-50% of the North Oyster Fire Department. If the referendum passes, it's only fair to share a pro-rata cost of the new NCFD hall. (It'll be less than the contractual share of a new, $2.5MM NOFD fire hall.) ;)

If the referendum passes, emergency services will be coming from the north, instead of the south. Yes, people on the southern edge of the RDN boundary would be at the far edge of the NCFD area, instead of the near edge of the NOFD area. (Perhaps this is where you live?)

Regardless, all affected residents would be within the 8-kilometer limit. People on the northern portion and in the Yellow Point area would actually be closer to emergency services. (A quick count of buildings on RDNMAP reveals that about 250 residences would be closer to services - fully 180 of these are in the Yellow Point area and would be moving from outside the 8-km limit to inside. Parcels in the south are larger, so only about 75 residences would be flipping to the "further half" of the NCFD area ... and less than half of these would be further away than they were before. We're talking about 38 residences).

Firstly, it's unacceptable for any residents to be outside the 8-kilometer limit if there are established emergency services that are closer.

Secondly, if about 285 residences out of about 325, or 88%, have a similar or improved emergency response time and only 38 have a worse situation (but still well within 8-kilometers), I fail to understand how you can say "it is only a good deal for a few". Gee, over HALF would be moving from outside 8-kilometers to inside 8-kilometers! Clearly, the majority of people "win"!

As I pointed out in the article - "YES" is really a no-brainer vote. If it's a good deal for "the few", you've not presented any evidence that supports this claim.

P.S. - All Volunteer Fire Departments deserve support. This issue isn't a North Cedar -or- North Oyster issue, it's about what's best for residents. The good guys at North Oyster deserve a new fire hall and hopefully, they'll get one, as well as expand their services south and west, within the Cowichan Valley Regional District.
4.flag stk Comment
Hmmm ... you got me to thinking about the election. I wonder if the results are in?

Apparently, they are (but marked "Priliminary")

NCID Fire Boundary Referendum
84 - YES
59 - NO

Electoral Director Area "A"
Joe Burnett - 490 (38.4%)
Bev Eert - 370 (29.0%)
Frank Garnish - 415 (32.5%)
(Turnout - 25%)

Wow, what a crappy turn-out! (At least Rachel got to vote!)

5.flag Not A Ncfd Supporter Comment
I do agree the residents of yellowpoint should be brought within the 8 kilometer raduis, but why should others suffer to appease them. The boundary could have easily been moved to satisfy both the residents of yellowpoint and hill road area. I still dont see why we should pay for the cost of the ncfd when we had no say in its construction. Yes the nofd firehall was estimated at 2.5 million, but they also have 1.5 million in APPROVED grants and aids, so the real cost is only 1million to the tax payer of which the cvrd has promised that NO resident of the rdn would have to pay. which is the better deal for us. Not sure when you got your count on residents, but i have personally walked the area knocking on doors and have 189 confirmed residents(addresses) with 367 signatures petitioning this boumdary change. The referendum may have passed, but the fight is just begining. it will become very apparent to all involved very shortly
6.flag stk Comment
I'm glad you think that those residents now living outside of the 8-kilometer limit should be brought within 8 kilometers. :)

You'e right, it's too bad that everyone can't be in a "better" situation.

However, faced with an "either/or" decision (which we were) I believe it's a superior decision for ALL residents be within an 8-kilometer limit. Unfortunately, it means that some will be further away than they were before. I understand your concerns in that regard.

Do you have a link or data to support the notion that a new NOFD hall wouldn't cost RDN residents - living in the NOFD service area - anything? That is counter to my current understanding.

I have no counts on residents - only residences (which I thought I made clear, when I described that I counted buildings on RDNmap). It was only a "back-of-the-envelope" tool, but - unless RDNmap isn't very accurate - it should provide a good gauge of the numbers (percentages) involved. ;)
7.flag Not An Ncfd Siupporter Comment
when i say 189 residences these are house that i personally knocked on the door. This stretches from haslam road to quennell rd,cedar hall to giovando road and yes if you compare it to the rdn map they dont jive, just like a lot of things the rdn has said. I dont understand what you mean by either or, there are lots of options when it comes to boundary re-alignment, but good old joe burnett and the rdn are only looking at the straight line in the sand. i dont have a link to give in regards to the hall payment, but i was in attendance at 2 cvrd and 1 nofd meetings where it was discussed, so it would be in their minutes or you could contact mary marcotte she would have all the relevant info. which makes me laugh when you look at the rdn and ncid info that states they have been working with nofd and cvrd to negotiate this change, yet cvrd and nofd have not been contacted by either since joe burnett stopped going to nofd meeting in march 2008, what kind of a director is that(the kind we have to get used to for the next 3 years). what happened to a democratic process the contract was cancelled without any public consultation meetings beforehand, and no public consultion meetings after the contract was cancelled. Nice Joe Nice!!
8.flag stk Comment
What I meant by "either/or" was that voters were presented with only the one option (Do you want to become part of NCFD or not?).

I agree that it's too bad there wasn't a third option (Do residents in Yellow Point area wish to become part of NCFD and residents in the Hill Road area wish to remain under contract with NOFD?)

I believe residents should be served by whichever emergency services are closest to them and not dictated by arbitrary political divisions.
9.flag Not An Ncfd Supporter Comment
I couldnt agree with you more. unfortuneatly we were not give that option by our local government, that is why our newly formed taxpayers association is taking this fight past the rdn to the provincial level (in association with the cassidy people). it has become very apparent that joe burnett and the rdn are not willing to listen to ALL those affected. it should get interesting real soon.
10.flag stk Comment
When you get your point across to the Provincial gov't, don't forget about us Yellow Pointers! We're happy - for the first time in 30 years - to be within 8 kilometers of a fire hall!! We'd for sure be unhappy to lose that!!
11.flag Not An Ncfd Supporter Comment
I dont think you will need to worry. We are looking for a solution that treats ALL the residents of Cedar/Yellowpoint fairly. Not just a quick fix scheme that seems to have big benefits for the RDN while not benefiting all the taxpayers. Hopefully we will be united in a more democratic solution. We just recieved our first correspondence from the provincial agency that we are dealing with and it looks very positve for us . Keep our fingers crossed.
12.flag stk Comment
Good luck!