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2018 Referendum for Borrowing
On October 20th, 2018 Creston will be holding a Referendum for Borrowing, for the design and construction of a new Fire Hall, in conjunction with Local Government Elections for Mayor and Council.
Click here for the complete History of the 2018 Fire Hall Review.
Please scroll down for more information.
Estimated Tax Impact
The following calculators allow you to estimate the potential impact to your Town of Creston taxes should the Referendum for Borrowing be successful. These estimates are based on 2018 rates. To learn your assessed property value please visit BC Assessment.
* These calculators assume that the maximum borrowing amount has been received, and are based on a 30 year amortization period and an interest rate of 3.9%. Interest rates are based on forecasts which may fluctuate. Your assessed property value is also subject to change from year to year. Only the money actually spent on the new Fire Hall would be added to taxes, and any cost savings such as received grants and donations would help reduce these costs. If you have a property class not listed above, please contact Town Hall for assistance with calculations.
Fire Hall Project Questions
Q: The Town of Creston has stated that the project price of $350 per square foot includes site development and contingency costs (based on a high Altus Range) but the Altus Cost Guide states that the project cost per square foot does not include costs such as architect fees and contingencies. Can you please clarify?
A: The Altus Guide is only one aspect of the information that the ASC and Council used to develop the recommended maximum borrowing amount for a new Fire Hall. The ASC utilized the Altus Construction Guide and reviewed recent comparable BC Fire Hall project costs to conclude that a maximum project cost of $350/sq. ft. for a 14,000 sq. ft. facility plus land cost was reasonable.
The ASC and Town has therefore concluded the maximum borrowing amount would be sufficient to build an effective, efficient and affordable fire hall to service the needs of Creston and area. The Town is committed to establishing a community based building advisory committee to evaluate building materials such as wood, steel and concrete, as well as rigorous planning and project management to reduce the burden on taxpayers upon a successful referendum.
For more Q&A, simply scroll down or click here.
About the Referendum
|For more information on the 2018 Municipal Elections click here.|
|For detailed information from the Community Fire Hall Advisory Select Committee, click here.|
Fire Hall Questions & Answers
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Q: Given the recent addition of a trailer and other fixes, does Creston still need a new Fire Hall?
A: Yes, we do need a new Fire Hall. Adding a trailer with changing rooms and showers is a temporary fix and does not provide a permanent solution to address WorkSafeBC orders Creston's Fire Hall decontamination and air quality, or the BC Building Code and BC Fire Code requirements for Fire Halls.
Even with temporary measures in place, employees, volunteers and the public can only spend a maximum of three hours a day in the current Fire Hall because the fixes do not adequately protect people from contamination from firefighting equipment, gear and diesel exhaust. Getting working conditions to an acceptable level can only be addressed in a new Fire Hall.
Q: How will the Town of Creston ensure that the new Fire Hall is being built to accommodate future growth?
A: Upon a successful borrowing referendum, the next phase of the Fire Hall project will include the establishment of a Building Advisory Select Committee of community members working with building professionals to ensure that rooms are sized adequately.
Finally, utilizing a property that can allow for expansion ensures that if additional space is required in the future, those types of additions could be accommodated.
Q: If the referendum for borrowing for the new Fire Hall is approved on October 20, will the Town of Creston reuse the existing furniture and equipment in the current Fire Hall?
A: Yes. Many of the fixtures in the existing Fire Hall such as gear lockers, gear washers, office furniture, etc. are transferable.
Q: What happens if the majority of Creston residents vote 'Yes' on the Fire Hall Referendum on October 20? And what happens if they vote 'No'?
A: If the majority of voters vote 'Yes,' the Fire Hall Referendum passes and the Town will start on the process to build a new Fire Hall. This includes creating a new Building Advisory Select Committee to help with the design, selection of building materials, tendering and construction processes for the Fire Hall. This process would take approximately 18 to 24 months.
If the majority of voters vote 'No,' the Fire Hall referendum does not pass, and there will be no new Fire Hall within the foreseeable future. The Town's current Fire Hall has limited functionality, and short-term solutions remain in place to address workplace deficiencies. The consequences on staffing and services are unknown.
Q: In the upcoming referendum, how much is the Town of Creston requesting to borrow for a new Fire Hall?
A: The Town of Creston is requesting voter permission to borrow $4.5 million. This is a maximum borrowing amount which includes land acquisition, design and development fees, and contingency. Town of Creston taxpayers will be responsible for repaying $2.95 million of this debt and the RDCK will be responsible for $1.55 million.
Q: Building Cost IS NOT Construction Cost IS NOT Project Cost and IS NOT Total Cost. So, as the $ 5.5 million is the Maximum Project Cost Estimate, what is the Maximum Total Cost Estimate?
A: “Project Cost” is “Total Cost”. This refers to all costs included. The ASC and Council based the maximum borrowing amount for the new fire hall on a number of sources of information, including the Altus Group Construction Cost Guide, the industry standard for estimating large projects.
The ASC and Town also reviewed comparable projects in BC and used this information to help inform the final maximum borrowing estimates.
The referendum borrowing amount was also influenced by presentations and information provided by interested community groups and individuals who encouraged evaluation of alternative construction materials and approaches, including steel.
The ASC and Town are confident that the borrowing amount proposed for the referendum represents the maximum cost to build an effective, efficient and affordable fire hall to serve the needs of Creston and area.
If voters provide permission to borrow up to that amount ($4.5 million with Town’s share at $2.95 million and RDCK’s share at $1.55 million), the next step is using that money to invest in design drawings, including identifying the most cost-effective materials (e.g. wood, steel etc.). The project will be tendered and once we have the bids, we will know the exact costs to build. For now, like any project of this size, we are working with maximum estimates.
In addition, we will actively pursue Provincial, Federal, environmental and other grants to help further reduce the costs. Being able to demonstrate public support for a project is an important requirement when applying for these necessary grants.
For more info on costs of fire halls in BC, please check out our Fire Hall Review document, and in particular the cost comparison table on page 16.
Q: The ASC/TOC says the $ 5.5 million includes site development, contingency and land purchase. Please breakdown the $ 5.5 million Maximum Project Cost Estimate into building cost, site development, contingency and land purchase.
A: The project value is based on an estimate of 14,000 square feet at $350 per square foot. The figure of $350 per square foot includes design and construction of a new fire hall, site development and contingency. This value, as well as comparisons to other recently built fire halls in BC, has provided the basis for calculating the amount required. Land is estimated at approximately $600,000 of the total project cost.
If voters provide permission to borrow up to $4.5 million, with the Town’s share being $2.95 million and the RDCK’s share being $1.55 million, the next step is using the funds to invest in design drawings, including identifying the most cost-effective materials (e.g. wood, steel etc.). The project would be tendered, and once we have the bids, we will know the exact costs to build. For now, like any project of this size, we are working with maximum estimates.
Q: The ASC/TOC says the Maximum Project Estimate includes a contingency. But Page 8 of the Altus Cost Guide says the unit cost $/sqft DOES NOT include Contingencies. Please clarify the contradiction. (Osoyoos contingencies included 5% for Design, 4% for Construction and 10% for Price Variance/Owner Risk – an Escalation contingency was excluded).
A: The Altus Guide is only one aspect of the information that the ASC and Council used to develop the recommended maximum borrowing amount for the new fire hall. The research also included looking at the costs to build comparable fire halls in other BC communities, as well as presentations and information from interested community members.
We are confident we have established a maximum amount for borrowing – and that we would only be borrowed if needed. A key part of the process will be to apply for Federal, Provincial, environmental and other grants once we have voter permission to proceed.
For more information on the comparisons of fire hall construction costs, including the Town of Osoyoos, please check out our Fire Hall Review document, and in particular the table on page 16.
Q: If the Maximum Project Cost Estimate is $5.5 million, why does Bylaw 1872 refer to $5.780 million? Please explain the $ 280,000 of “expenses incidental to . . .” and how they are to be paid.
A: Bylaw 1872 states: “AND WHEREAS the estimated cost of building a new Protective Services Building, including expenses incidental thereto, is the sum of $5,780,000 of which $4,500,000 is the amount of debt created by this bylaw.”
The amount of $280,000 that is referenced in Bylaw 1872 is all of the expenses that have been paid to date related to the process of building a new fire hall, over the last four years. The Bylaw clearly states that $4.5 million is the “amount of debt created by this bylaw”.
This is typical of large projects of this nature. In our case, this relates to costs that have been incurred such as community consultation and communications (including the ASC), exploration of renovation options, architect, siting studies, geotechnical, administration, legal fees, etc. These are from the Town’s annual operating budget.