Fire service agreement up in smoke 

Village of Pemberton ends longstanding agreement, requests formal review of services

The Village of Pemberton plans to terminate the region’s longstanding fire service agreement, in hopes that they can come up with a more equitable cost-sharing model.

The agreement, which has been in place since 1990, serves the village, the regional district, the area surrounding the village, known as the fire district, and Mount Currie.

But according to statistics from the past three years, the village has shouldered almost three quarters of the $408,648 cost, while making less than half of the calls.

Meanwhile, Mount Currie also benefits from both fire and rescue services, but makes no financial contribution.

Lori Pilon, administrator for the Village of Pemberton, said they hope through a new fire and rescue service agreement all communities who use the services will help foot the bill.

The announcement comes on the heels of the village’s withdrawal of voluntary fire services to Area C at the end of July.

Pilon said the recent termination and request for review is an attempt to reach a long-term agreement among all areas. She explained that the Village of Pemberton currently provides separate fire and rescue services to the SLRD, but while the rescue area encompasses all of Area C, the fire area is only a smaller portion.

Since both fire and rescue services are provided from one facility, they hope to form an agreement that includes both.

“Essentially, there’s a lot of overlapping use of the equipment and utilities and building and insurance, so it’s not really two independent and separate services.”

Pilon said instead of a number of agreements that cover different areas, the village would like to develop a single agreement.

At the September SLRD meeting, Mayor Jordan Sturdy said he hopes the four areas can work together to develop a new agreement, which will encompass both fire and rescue services, in time for the next budget year.

The village provided written notice of termination to the SLRD, which is set to take effect Dec. 31, 2007, as required under the existing agreement.

Pilon said they also plan to have staff conduct a bylaw review of the rescue portion of services, and make recommendations to council based on their findings.

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