All articles in ‘Web site news’

Fallow Deer Update

Friday, June 15th, 2012

 

As most Mayne Islanders are aware, there are two species of Deer on the island: Black Tail – the local native species and Fallow – an introduced European species that is classified as an ‘invasive species’ by the Province.

 

The Fallow Deer have their origins from a Deer Farm that operated on island during the 1990’s. An escape of approximately 50 animals into our ecosystem has resulted in untold damage to local plant species and their aggressive nature has affected the native Black Tail traditional territory as well as competing for limited food sources. Many landowners note the lack of juvenile Arbutus, Fir, Balsam, Gary Oak and Cedar Trees as well as wildflowers and other native vegetation that is being browsed out by the expanding deer populations.

 

Fallow Deer are from the Cervinae part of the Deer family, Black Tail Deer are part of the Odocoileinae branch. The two distinct subspecies do not breed together.

 

Last year over 200 Fallow Deer were hunted on Mayne. However the population is estimated to be over 500 Fallow Deer at this time and increasing each year.

 

Since 1996 the Province has issued a limited number of permits to local hunters for the end goal of culling all of the invasive Fallow Deer. At this time there are five permitted hunters on Mayne Island, all are well trained, respectful and donate their time and out of pocket expenses to provide a valued service to the community. None of the meat is wasted or sold. There is no permitted hunting of Black Tail Deer on Mayne Island.

 

All hunting is conducted on private land with the permission of the landowner during daylight hours only. Night hunting or ‘pit lamping’ is illegal and should be reported to the RCMP immediately.

 

In recognition of the seriousness of the Fallow Deer issue, a majority of private landowners have permitted access to their property  for the purpose of hunting or recovering Fallow Deer. However there is a need for further access to insure the hunters have the ability to locate and safely hunt
the Fallow Deer.  If you own an acerage that you suspect is being used by the Fallow Deer and would be willing to allow access to your land, it would be appreciated if you contacted the Deer Committee at
maynedeer@hotmail.com with your address and contact information. The hunters will respect landowners restrictions on access (ie: hunting on weekdays only or only during certain months) and operate under restrictive guidelines provided by the Province to insure the hunt is conducted in a professional manner.

 

We do recognize there is also a serious overpopulation problem with the native Black Tail due to a lack of predators. However the hunt program is only permitted by the Provincial Government to deal with the invasive Fallow Deer.

 

Further information can be found on this website – click on ‘Deer on Mayne’ which has a series of articles and links to information about deer overpopulation and the effect that it has on local ecosystems.

 

Mayne Island Deer Committee

 

Islands Trust Election Update

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Islands Trust Act

The Islands Trust is governed by the Islands Trust Act which

  • Establishes the corporate bodies of the Islands Trust
  • Identifies the Islands Trust Area and the “object” (mandate) of the Islands Trust
  • Confers responsibilities and powers on the corporate bodies of the Islands Trust
  • Transfers land use planning powers from Regional Districts to Local Trust Committees
  • Prohibits a Regional District from adopting bylaws, issuing permits or undertaking work contrary   to a Local Trust Committee bylaw
  • Establishes the relationship with Island Municipalities
  • Guides some governance procedures
  • Provides for budget and requisition of taxes

 

The Islands Trust ‘Object’

The object provides the ‘purpose’ for all Islands Trust corporate bodies.

The object of the Trust is to preserve and protect the Trust Area and its unique amenities and environment for the benefit of the residents of the Trust Area and of British Columbia generally, in cooperation with municipalities, regional districts, improvement districts, other persons and organizations and the government of British Columbia.

Trustee Candidates:

 All Candidates must take a statutory declaration that the information they have presented is true and correct. The information includes eligibility criteria. This declaration is taken in front of a Commissioner for taking oaths or a statutory officer under the Local Government Act.

MIRRA would like to thank all who attended the recent all-candidates meeting. There was standing room only, and audience participation was enthusiastic and interesting, generating many excellent questions for the candidates. The purpose of the meeting was to stimulate community discussion of the many issues which face our Island now and in the future; to introduce the candidates to the public at large; and to gain a clearer understanding of the qualification or experience factors presented by each candidate and how those factors may affect the future of our community.

It became clear as the meeting progressed that there was some confusion as to the duties, responsibilities and authority of a Trustee. There was discussion of issues that clearly went beyond the scope of a Trustee’s mandate. To clarify that mandate, we have provided above, the scope and objective of the Islands Trust act, directly from the Islands Trust website.

Trustees may certainly advocate for other issues but they have no direct power or control over such things as roads, drainage, fallow deer control, etc. As an advocate, a Trustee may for example, approach the wildlife branch of our Government to protest the extreme habitat destruction being caused by an escaped foreign species. They may encourage the Government to permit or assist in ultimate solutions to resolve this issue. They cannot impose or direct solutions. Trustees have, over the years, advocated for improved roads, better drainage and many other issues which concern their constituents. Advocacy is a very important and effective tool that when combined with an in-depth working knowledge of the Trust Act, provides valuable service and stability to an Island community.

MIRRA Directors and members feel that a clear understanding of these issues by our elected officials is important to the future security and enjoyment of our Island home. Be sure to vote for the candidates of your choice, and when making your decision please consider all of the areas of duties and responsibility that your candidates will be charged with. Voters can ponder the effects of voting for a single issue as opposed to making choices that may best represent the community as a whole.

Mayne Island is facing multiple challenges during the next term of the new Trustees and voters should consider amongst other things, those candidates with the most beneficial life experience, a working knowledge of the Islands Trust Act and/or the broadest based Island experience.

Mayne Islanders roots are anchored deep in the community’s past. It is a special and honoured history and legacy to be preserved and protected equally side by side with the preserve and protect objects of the Trust Act which we inherit and covet generation to generation.

With a tradition of productive and civil discourse our community can take pride in the level of active and open participation in its governance affairs. This is not always the situation elsewhere, as we see in recent news reports of civic upheaval, but Mayne Island has always been a better alternative. The recent all-candidates meeting presented a model of civility where ideas, questions and criticisms were freely exchanged so that we might rediscover where the balance lay in our community. We trust that this attitude will carry forward into all of our future endeavours and we thank the community for the outstanding attendance at this important event.

Sincerely,

MIRRA Board of Directors

Bill Borges, Carl Bunnin, Ian Dow, David Lindquist, Colleen Ming, Wayne Ming, Barry Wilks

October 2011 Newsletter

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Island Trust All Candidates Meeting Oct 29th

Sponsored by MIRRA

October 29th, 1 PM, Ag Hall

 

It’s hiring time at the old sausage factory again. Despite repeated warnings to the squeamish about witnessing the gory processes that sustain the body, physical and politic, candidates are lining up once more. As lovers of good government (and sausages), we must applaud their stalwart commitment to community service. Much depends on the people who are willing to accept difficult, sometimes unpleasant tasks. As connoisseurs of political hope and change, we the electors must determine which candidates will best serve Mayne Island.

Voters are notoriously picky, even down-right cynical sometimes, and manage to find fault with the limited spectrum of choices between the veteran’s experienced aplomb and the fresh idealism of a first-timer. Truly, we are the employers from hell, and those who would serve will definitely earn their pay. And to be fair, those of us who will never offer ourselves for the position of Island Trustee should remember to thank those who do.

 

As mentioned in last month’s column, there are new tensions in the air this election cycle. Gulf Islanders are beginning to look for more directly democratic governance than the trustee/ward model. Despite putting on the bureaucratic pounds, the Trust is really hitting its stride, and expanding into new areas. Permanent staff naturally network with peers in other jurisdictions within and without Canada, with the result that agendas tend to arrive at, rather than arise within our communities. Do you suppose that most Gulf Islanders are aware of impending policy developments such as “Smart Development” and “Green Shores”? This is starting to look like technocratic government by policy module. Is this what we want? Is it necessary? And when and where was it discussed? The Trust pays lip service to preserving and protecting rural ambience, but this looks more like urban-centered remote-management of rural assets — subtly incremented so as not to panic the livestock. As a mature community, Mayne Island does not need externally imposed mandates; we should be represented by people who understand where the community’s vision comes from, and how best to preserve it from metastasizing bureaucracy. Please. Thank you.

 

  • Nominations open Oct 4th and close the 14th.
  • Nov 9th advance polling day
  • Nov 19th General Voting Day
  • You do not have to live in the jurisdiction in which you are running for office. (Dalai Lama? Lady Gaga?)

 

MIRRA AGM Resheduled!

Due to late-breaking circumstances, the MIRRA AGM originally planned for October 8th has been rescheduled to SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22, 1 pm at the Community Centre.

Our apologies for any inconvience. We look forward to seeing you then.

If governance and local politics didn’t interest you, you wouldn’t have read this far. Might be time to admit you care deeply about how these things affect the quality of life in our community, and come out to MIRRA’s AGM. Issues of importance considered in an atmosphere of amiable civility, accompanied by refreshments. Memberships are $10, available at the door, and from MIRRA directors. Your support keeps MIRRA supporting good government.

 PS Any cartoonists out there that would like to work with MIRRA on political commentary?

 Respectfully submitted by the MIRRA Executive:

Barry Wilks, Colleen Ming, Dave Lindquist, Bill Borges, Wayne Ming

 www.maynebc.com

mayneratepayers@shaw.ca

September 2011 Newsletter

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Governance and the Gulf Islands

 

Islands Trust

November 19th, we vote for Island Trustees, 26 people who will then elect a four-person Executive Committee.  Members of the Executive chair Local Trust Committee meetings, and approve, or refuse approval, for bylaws passed by the LTCs.

For 38 years, the Trust has been shaped by forces ranging from hard-environmentalist activism to passive cynicism and dismissal, with occasional flashes of community involvement around specific proposals. These events have played out mostly in isolation – each community struggling alone with its governance dynamics in what the Trust refers to as “…a unique federation of independent local governments…” The Big Picture, including plans for expanding the Trust’s role in the life of all these communities, is largely concentrated in the Executive and administrative and planning staff located inVictoria.

This election cycle, things are changing. Isolation between communities is being overcome at the grass-roots level. Islanders seeking better alternatives are reaching out to each other across the “federation” and finding common cause outside official Trust information channels. Wider sharing of information and concerns will lead to a more mature relationship with the Trust than the present one of being under the appointed guardianship and administrative program of forces too-often based outside our communities.

Which leads back to the question: What have we learned, and what shall we do about it? What questions should be put to them to help us make up our minds? Some suggestions:

  • When Islands Trust Mandates, Policy Statements, various ‘global warming’ and anti-vehicle agendas conflict with needs and desires of your community, where will your loyalty lie?
  • What is your position on recent Trust budgets and their impact on taxes? Would you support rolling back any budget items, leave them as they are, or expand any?
  • Can you reference an action or policy of theLTCor Trust Council you support or don’t support that would give voters a clue of how you might behave in office?

Readers will no doubt have their own lists. Some may have moved to Mayne to be part of an ongoing experiment in eco-activism, and appreciate strenuous efforts of the Trust to protect us from our baser humanity. Others came here hoping for a less intrusively regulatory, authoritarian environment. Public-spirited candidates will all have their fine qualities, but how will their philosophies, assumptions, tendencies and agendas affect ability to live as we want in this chosen place? Don’t be shy about asking candidates where they stand; you have the power, until you hand it to them.

 

CRD

Aside from funding support for local Parks and Recreation, a volunteer-run organization that Mayne Islanders are deeply grateful to, theCRDcontrol’s ourMinersBaywharf, and has a growing involvement in our groundwater issues.

MIRRA was frustrated in its efforts to get better vehicle access to the wharf, unable to convince theCRDthat their vehicle barrier policy was not structurally necessary and was a chronic inconvenience to some Mayne Islanders.

RegardingCRDtakeover of water districts, what are impacts on users and other taxpayers likely to be when this infrastructure is controlled by a non-community bureaucracy? Can we get more local perspective incorporated intoCRDdecision making? Are there candidates for whom this might be a priority?

 

Upcoming Events

 

Ferry Commissioner

September 17 at the Community Centre: an important meeting with the BC Ferries Commissioner, who is reviewing the impact of BC Ferries on island communities.  All are encouraged to attend and participate in the discussion. Small business owners in particular have a unique opportunity to voice their concerns to the commissioner. The review will look into the current price cap model and assess its impact on the affordability and sustainability of ferry service to communities depending on it.

 

Roads

Members of MIRRA’s executive met recently with Mark Traverso, Operations Manager, Ministry of Transportation and Highways, V.I. District, Saanich Area Office, and Leon Bohmer, Manager of Mainroad Contracting,South Island. Sympathy was offered for the condition of our roads, but budget constraints only allow for keeping up with worst cases of pavement failure. $2,000,000 in paving commitments by previous managers were in fact undocumented and are not in force. Figures were cited to show Mayne is not being short-changed for its share of available budget.

After being toured around Mayne’s crumbling infrastructure, they came away with an impression that some roads need serious work (HortonBayand Gallagher Bay Roads in the area of MacKay’s farm, andWaugh Road). Concerns with the undermining ofGeorgina Point Roadat Garrick hit home and they assured us this was a priority. They say we are likely to see about the same amount of paving each year, and they will try to focus on the bad sections. They suggested undertaking some polling on island to ensure they were addressing community concerns. We shall see, but at least the lines of communication are open.

 

MIRRA AGM

October 8th,1 PM at the Community Centre. Memberships, $10 at the door. The Ratepayers are not a one-trick pony: issues critical to the community abound. MIRRA can always use more help from members and encourages candidates to stand for directorships on the board. Membership fees cover basic expenses, but donations are always welcome to help with costs of special community meetings and projects, etc.

 

Municipal Incorporation Discussion Meeting

MIRRA is intending to host a meeting discussing pros and cons of the municipal option. We’re hoping for a date in October, before the Islands Trustee All-Candidates Meeting, intending that it will add some depth of consideration to governance issues.

 

Heads up!

 

Canada Post plans to implement a new addressing policy for community organizations, namely, free numbers at group boxes will cease, and we’ll have to pay $120 a year at the Post Office, or have mail sent to an individual’s address. Sound like good service? Didn’t think so. Can we get together to register our dissatisfaction and need for a better solution?

 

Sincerely,

MIRRA Executive

Website: www.maynebc.com

Email: mayneratepayers@shaw.ca

April 2011 Newsletter

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

What’s Next?

The directors of MIRRA would like to thank all those who worked on the recent referendum.
Particularly, we would like to thank the folks who contributed their time and support to our campaign: the 16 enthusiastic scrutineers, those who wrote letters and spoke publicly, and those who made donations to ensure the community received the information it needed to make an informed decision.

As most of you are aware, the referendum to borrow up to $3.4 million to construct a new fire hall was soundly defeated. Our interpretation of this vote is that most residents want the fire hall issue solved; they just don’t want to pay $3.4 million, plus 20 years of interest. Mayne Islanders are now asking “What is the next step?” MIRRA would like input from our members and the general public on any future fire hall debate. As opponents of the last proposal, we must be prepared to support or suggest recommendations.

The funding and management of the fire hall is the responsibility of the Mayne Island Improvement District. MIID has an AGM scheduled for Saturday, April 16th, where four Trustee positions will be filled by election of qualified property owners. This new board will have the task of moving forward with a new plan for the fire hall that meets the needs of the community, while respecting financial constraints that voters so emphatically demanded. It is important that voters follow through on their intentions by attending this meeting and supporting candidates who respect their demonstrated will. This project needs to be retrieved as soon as possible by new Trustees who will need to bring refreshed competence and commitment. Candidates will soon become apparent; make sure you take the opportunity at the AGM to review the abilities and vision they offer.

Once again, we thank the community for its ongoing support, and we will continue to keep you updated as the “what’s next” unfolds. MIRRA will strive to continue being a community voice through:
Scrutinizing taxation;
Lobbying government and officials;
Monitoring governing processes;
Communicating with residents and ratepayers.

Sincerely,
MIRRA Executive
Wayne Ming, Bill Borges, Barry Wilks, Colleen Ming, Bob McKinnon, Dave Lindquist

March 2011 Newsletter

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Mayne Island Residents and Ratepayers Association
March 2011 Newsletter

MIRRA Maintains “VOTE NO” Position on Fire Hall Referendum

Sound Reasons to Vote No:

$3.4 million for this project is too expensive and puts us in heavy debt for too long.
• We face other upcoming infrastructure costs (health centre expansion) and our small tax base will soon need to meet these demands as well.
• MIID needs to heed all the tax payers concerns and adopt an attitude of fiscal restraint in a time of economic uncertainty.
• Parcel tax is the usual form of levy for such projects and is the fairest way to share the cost among property owners in the community.
• Mayne Island’s fire hall problem can be solved for much less than $3.4 million; our neighbors on Saturna have shown this.
• Superior Shuttle Service certification remains a possibility with a more economical fire hall design; it is not dependent on this more costly version.

MIRRA recommends a NO vote to send this project back to the drawing board for a more affordable solution.

How a Community Makes Decisions

Of all the levels of government that impact our lives, the Mayne Island Improvement District is the one closest to us, and most within our reach to influence. There’s no shame or offense in daring to question this body that is here to serve us. It is the right of citizens to hold their government accountable and freely communicate their opinions, especially on complex and controversial proposed projects they (and their descendants) will have to pay for. So, take a chance – talk to your friends and neighbors about the referendum question. Share your views and questions. Then vote – for the solution that solves the problem with the least possible financial hardship for the community.

MIID AGM: April 16th

Wouldn’t it be nice if the Improvement District posted the financial report on their website ahead of the AGM to allow for meaningful examination by the community? And how about allowing some time for candidates for the three available Trustee positions to introduce themselves and their reasons for running? Candidates and electors deserve it.

Memberships and donations are what cover expenses.

MIRRA sent out over 1,000 letters to off-island property owners February 1st, to make sure they received information they would not hear from the Mayne Island Improvement District, and recommending a No vote on the fire hall referendum.

If you would like to support the work of MIRRA, individual memberships are $10 and donations are gratefully accepted.
MIRRA S1-C55, Mayne Island, BC, V0N2J0

MIRRA’s purposes are:

To scrutinize the taxation and levies imposed on our residents from the five levels of government;

To lobby elected, appointed and other officials to obtain the best possible services for the community;

To monitor the processes being used to impose taxes and recommend changes to improve transparency and accountability of the organizations imposing the levies;

Communicate with our residents and the broader public through articles and electronic media.

Respectfully submitted by the MIRRA Executive
Bob McKinnon, Colleen Ming, Barry Wilks, Dave Lindquist, Wayne Ming
www.maynebc.com mayneratepayers@shaw.ca

Mayne Island Residents and Ratepayers Association February 2011 Newsletter

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Fire Hall Referendum Special Issue

Greetings MIRRA Members,

As you are no doubt aware, The Mayne Island Improvement District has scheduled a referendum for March 12th to borrow up to $3,400,000 to build a new fire hall. MIRRA was founded to interact with the various levels of gov- ernment over such issues on behalf of residents and ratepayers. Besides a monthly executive meeting, the direc- tors are in regular contact with each other, sharing information and considering responses to a range of situations. MIRRA may sponsor a single-issue forum, lobby for attention to a pressing need, and update the member- ship and the community at large through a newsletter or submission to the Mayneliner. The Board operates mostly by consensus, and feels it has a sense of the membership from emails, phone calls, and regular encounters in the community.

We are writing this because a member has protested not being informed that the directors have decided to take on the “NO” Committee function in the fire hall referendum process. Information became available to us in its own time, and deadlines for applying for committee status with the referendum Returning Officer made it impractical to call a special general meeting to consider the position. We assumed the underlying reason to take this action was embodied in MIRRA’s constitution (MIRRA’s purposes, actually our constitution, are printed on the reverse of your membership card).

MIRRA was contacted by member Doug McNeill with a proposal to review his analysis of the fire hall project and referendum question to borrow up to 3.4 million dollars. We found it a persuasive argument that the Improvement District’s proposal needs serious re-thinking, and include it here, along with MIRRA’s recommendation to vote NO on the referendum question, both submitted to the February Mayneliner. Both documents make the case for build- ing and funding a new fire hall without an unnecessarily high tax burden on the community over twenty years.

The No Committee mailed over 1,000 copies of the two letters to off-island property owners who might not see them in the Mayneliner. We felt they deserved information to help them make an informed decision in this referendum. Costs of the mail-out were covered by membership fees ($10/individual) and generous donations. If you would like to support these activities, please consider renewing your membership, due as of the October 2010 AGM. Donations may be made to Mayne Island Residents and Ratepayers Association. As we are not a registered charitable society, we do not issue tax receipts.

The invitation is extended once again to members to communicate with us, either in person, or via mayneratepayers@shaw.ca and to consider joining the board. Our mailing address is MIRRA, S1 – C55, Mayne, BC, V0N2J0

Sincerely,

Mayne Island Residents and Ratepayers Association Board of Directors:

Dave Lindquist
Colleen Ming
Wayne Ming
Barry Wilks
Bob McKinnon

Mayne Island Residents and Ratepayers Association and the 3.4 million dollar Fire Hall Referendum

Tax increases are never popular, most especially during times of economic uncertainty. But sometimes they are for a purpose that must be accomplished near term, and not put off. MIRRA is unaware of any serious opposition to the need to replace the present fire hall with one that is disaster-proof.

The Fire Hall Task Force has produced a design to meet the requirements of the Fire Department and thus the disaster security needs of the community, but we think that the process employed did not give adequate consideration to more affordable alternative solutions, such as that put forth in Doug McNeill’s letter appearing elsewhere in this Mayneliner.

The maximum borrowing sum of $3,400,000 is calculated to provide a wooden building, being the recommendation of consultants retained by the Improvement District. Recent steel fire hall construction on Saturna has demonstrated that such projects can be com- pleted for far less than the M.I. Improvement District is asking for. We are told that the decision on building type can be revisited, but doubt that there would be much incentive to do so if the maximum amount is approved. MIRRA arranged to have a representa- tive of a locally owned steel building company present cost information relevant to Mayne’s project. MIRRA is not an agent for any particular construction company, but we do appreciate the alternative information they have provided. In any case, the Im- provement District doesn’t seem much interested, but we suspect taxpayers will be.

At the recent Task Force information meeting, members of the public were clearly un- comfortable with being asked to approve a spending proposal without knowing in ad- vance whether they were to be billed by a parcel tax, or by a tax on assessment as rec- ommended by the Task Force. The parcel tax would impact every property equally, whereas a tax on assessment would see some taxpayers paying many times more (as much as $2,500 annually) than others for the same service. Handling this burden fairly need not involve punitively taxing owners of handed down family properties, some of whom are living in otherwise modest circumstances. And in the absence of a decision on taxation method, voters must assume the worst-case scenario.

In closing, MIRRA reminds referendum voters that the present proposal represents a 20 year funding commitment at a time when economic trends are dubious and financial stresses may not have yet peaked. It behooves all levels of government to manage ex- penditures prudently, and with obligatory care towards the people they serve. If the new Fire Hall requires another go-round, hopefully the next Task Force’s revised terms of reference will make a higher priority of the interests of Mayne Island taxpayers.

While understanding that delaying a new Fire Hall is a major disappointment within the community, we recommend a NO vote on this 3.4 million dollar question.

Date: February 2011
To: Mayne Island Voters
From: Doug McNeill
Subject: Mayne Island Fire Hall Referendum March 12, 2011

The Fire Hall referendum asks if we agree to spend up to $3,400,000 for a new Fire Hall. Payable over 20 years. I am not a fan of long term debt. Subscribing to long term debt would encourage me to overspend. I find ‘living within my means’ to be far more palatable. The concept of ‘living within your means’ is very simple.

A) Buy only what you need.
B) Pay for it.
C) If you can’t pay for it now, but definitely need it now, plan to retire the debt as soon as possible.

A small group of Islanders undertaking a $3,400,000 debt is a heavy load. It becomes $5,654,376 over the 20 years. That looks to me like too large a request for our small community. That is certainly “all our eggs in one basket” for a very long time. What about our other community funded needs?

I had heard of the new Saturna Island Fire Hall. What I found difficult to understand is how Saturna Island built their Fire Hall for about ONE THIRD of what we are being asked to spend.

I took it upon myself to delve into this issue.

I had become aware of Permasteel, the firm that built the new Saturna Island Fire Hall. Saturna wrote a very strong letter of recommendation discussing their contract with Permasteel. Saturna’s Fire Hall came in at $1,200,000. Some land costs are included in this figure. The contract was for two buildings, collectively 9,100 sq. ft.

I wanted to get a second opinion of Permasteel. I found another Permasteel Fire Hall on the mainland, so off I went to pay them a visit. I met with the Fire Chief. I didn’t discuss costs because he revealed that the building was 13 years old. He also mentioned that it tested well in a recent municipal building survey. In summary he said “It suits the purpose”. That says it all for me: “SUITS THE PURPOSE” can be added to “AFFORDABILITY” as criteria for our Fire Hall.

Permasteel has been building steel structures for 57 years. All types of steel buildings. They are leaders in the field. Vancouver based. They have an impressive portfolio. The Garrison Curling Club in Calgary impressed me. Quite a fashionable social component adjacent to the large ice surface. I was also impressed with the fact that Shell Oil chose a Permasteel building to house their corporate airplanes, complete with executive offices, departure lounge etc.

PERMASTEEL HAS BUILT MANY FIRE HALLS.

I called Permasteel. I made it clear that I was calling on a personal basis. They have been here on Mayne and have seen our Fire Hall plans. They couldn’t discuss costs with me, as I well understood, however they told me that their common experience for similar structures was about $175/sq.ft.

I needed to see the MIID Fire Hall plans again. Yes, the plans looked well beyond “Suits the purpose” to me. The ceiling is supported by glue – laminated beams, framed by a surround of many sky lights. Could that ceiling be any more expensive? I think it could be reasonably assumed that the entire building is designed to that standard. A long way from my “Suits the purpose” criteria .

Total Cost Total Sq. Ft. $ Per Sq. Ft.
Saturna Fire Hall $1,200,000 9,100 $132.00
Permasteel Fire Hall Common Experience $175.00
Mayne Island Proposed Fire Hall $3,638,000 9,778 $372.00

I have prepared this basic cost comparison for your review.

MIID Permasteel
Budget $3,638,000 $2,200,000
Reserves ($237,000) ($237,000)
Balance $3,401,000 $1,963,000
Loan principal $3,400,000 $1,963,000
Interest 5% 5%
Years 20 9
Monthly $22,438 $22,608
Yearly $269,256 $271,296
Times years $5,385,120 $2,441,664
5% collection fee $269,256 $122,083
Grand total $5,654,376 $2,563,747
Debt avoided $3,090,629

The MIID column is the proposed Fire Hall. The Permasteel column represents my “Suits the purpose” Fire Hall. The budget figure I have used in the Permasteel column is $2,200,000. I have arrived at this number with the fol- lowing in mind.

$2,200,000 is twice the cost of the Saturna Fire Hall. The slightly smaller structure, and exclusion of their land costs, makes this comparison equitable.

$2,200,000 builds in a 29% reserve from Permasteel’s common experience. This is $225/sq.ft., up from $175/sq.ft.

Interesting numbers.

SAME REPAYMENT SCHEDULE DEBT FREE IN 9 YEARS. AVOIDED $3,000,000 OF DEBT.

THREE MILLION DOLLARS LESS. THAT’S WHAT “LIVING WITHIN OUR MEANS” LOOKS LIKE.

Here are six very important things to keep in mind.

The fire department needs a new building. Lots of room to park the trucks, firefighting gear, firefighting equipment, administration offices, storage, training facilities, etc.

It is the Mayne Island taxpayer’s responsibility to provide the firefighters with this facility. It must be affordable. It can’t tie us up for too long because there are other community needs worthy of our support. The principle need of the structure is to keep gear and trucks dry, and at the ready. An industrial steel building, “Suits the purpose”.

The question on the referendum is very straight forward. “Do you approve the borrowing of UP TO $3,400,000 for the New Fire Hall?” Yes or no. KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE END NUMBERS. $5,654,376 compared to $2,563,747. As you can see I’m a supporter of the “DOWN TO” position.

The only way back to the drawing board is for you to VOTE NO on March 12th.

Most Mayne Island voters live “Off Island”. They are hard for me to reach. If you agree with my views expressed here, please discuss this letter with them. Your weekender neighbours need this information to cast an informed vote. Mail in ballots should be out to them now so it is important to pass this information on promptly.