West Cresto residents have until Jan. 15 to return fire protection petitions.

West Cresto residents have until Jan. 15 to return fire protection petitions.

Opinions split over West Creston fire protection petition; deadline extended to Jan. 15

Web Lead

  • Jan. 6, 2014 8:00 p.m.

Larry Binks says the bitterness that has arisen from his efforts to get certified fire protection to property owners in West Creston has taken him by surprise.

“Sadly, this has kind of split the community,” the Regional District of Central Kootenay director for Area C said this morning. “People who want fire service have organized and people who don’t want it have organized — it’s gotten kind of ugly.”

Binks and those who want fire protection have been attempting to get sufficient support — more than half of the properties and more than half of the total property value must be represented on the yes side before the taxation can be implemented. Fire protection would be provided by Wynndel-Lakeview, Canyon-Lister and Town of Creston fire departments.

Binks arranged for a two-week time extension for the petition when he realized that the RDCK offices would be closed for seven of the last 15 days of December. The petition process now must be complete by Jan. 15.

“That created a real storm,” he said. “I wanted to make sure that everyone had sufficient opportunity to get their petitions in if they want fire protection — this is about making sure all taxpayers have their say.”

With just over a week remaining to garner sufficient support, he estimated that 42 per cent of property owners representing 48 per cent of the total property value have signed in favour of fire protection.

“But I would want to see a clear majority — maybe 55-60 per cent — before I sign a taxation bylaw,” he said.