Process and partners
Solutions for fire protection and public safety facilities on Salt Spring Island are being led with community engagement and input, starting with the formation of the volunteer-based Fire Rescue Advisory Committee
Community input is important in creating workable solutions for fire protection and public safety. Opportunities for Islanders to review background materials and reports and provide feedback are ongoing.
Leading the process is the volunteer Fire Rescue Advisory Committee, formed in August 2019 in order to review the current situation with the Ganges Fire Hall, consider options to update or replace the hall, and, following community consultation, make the final recommendations to the Fire Protection District Board, who will make any decisions around next steps.
The Advisory Committee is made up of volunteers from the Salt Spring Island community, the Fire Protection District Board, and project team including fire technical experts. Committee member recruitment was promoted at the Board meetings, on the SSIFR Facebook page, and through word of mouth. Application forms for the Advisory Committee were available at the main Fire Hall.
If the Board decision involves borrowing, a referendum will be required in order to get permission from the community to build a new Fire Hall.
In 2007 and again in 2013, Salt Spring Islanders considered borrowing the funds required to build a new fire hall through referendums, neither of which passed. While referendum outcomes halted previous proposals, the need to improve the Ganges Fire Hall remains, and becomes more urgent as time goes on.
If a new fire hall on a different site moves forward, the community will be able to provide input and ideas for future use of the existing fire hall and its prominent and centrally located site in downtown Ganges.