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Photo:  In February, residents pack the Pomeroy Hotel to talk fire protection – Kimberley Molina/Energeticcity.ca

Charlie Lake Fire Department volunteers will stay on the job after giving the Peace River Regional District an ultimatum.

Thursday evening, volunteers with the Charlie Lake Fire Department met to discuss a letter from Arthur Hadland, Area C Director for the PRRD. The letter was in response to an ultimatum made by the volunteers at a meeting in March.

The volunteers gave the District until April 29, 2011 to show clear decisions were being made about the Department’s future or else they would turn in their pagers. During a February 24th District meeting, the Society that runs the fire department, requested the District take over the operation and manage the fire service. The District decided to give notice and take control of the fire department starting April 1, 2012.

Volunteers don’t believe they got the answers they wanted in the letter, but feel they can’t walk away from the community of Charlie Lake, leaving the community unprotected.

In the four page letter, which you can view below, the District states they have hired an independent party to conduct a review and to recommend management options once the District takes control of the fire department.

Volunteers were looking for answers to three main questions. First the volunteers wanted to know if they’d have any input in the roll of the new fire department. The District says during the review, volunteers will be consulted on the administration, management and operation of the fire service.

The volunteers also asked if the current Fire Chief Al Pinkerton will remain on staff after the change over. The District stated they were unable to make that commitment and said once a new management model was in place; any Society staff could apply for the new positions.

For now the Volunteers are some what satisfied with the response, but they will now wait to see what happens during the review and will be requesting an unedited copy of the report that will be presented to the District. The report must be finished by July 29, 2011.

Volunteers say they haven’t changed their stance that the District has been doing things the public hasn’t requested, but they won’t leave the community unprotected. According to the fire fighters, the District has been destroying the moral of the department, because at every meeting the volunteers are taking about this issue instead of focusing on their training.

The District contends they are committed to providing fire service in the Charlie Lake fire protection area and that the volunteers are an important part of that service.

 

For more on this story, view any of our previous stories on this issue.

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