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In a report to City Council, Deputy Fire Chief Curtis Redpath wrote, “With the growth of our community, continuing to provide a response to Tembec would continue to stretch our resources and reduce our capacity to meet the needs of our stakeholders.” He added, “With the growing current demands on our services it is likely that it will only be a matter of time before the City is placed in a position where the fire services are over-prescribed and providing the contracted service to Tembec could result in residents and property in Fort St. John at risk.”
However, despite not renewing their contract, the City has said it will continue to be a “good neighbour” and should an incident arise, it will provide assistance, subject to Council approval and available resources. That type of agreement was seen recently, when four firemen were sent to help out in Fort Nelson after a sudden firefighter death.
In order to lessen the strain should there be a fire at the mill, Fort St. John has been co-responding with Dawson Creek. Tembec believes that having the two cities’ help has established a diligent fire protection program, resulting in a low fire incident rate at the mill.
In discussions with the City leading up to the decision, the company said it understood its position, and thanked the community for its assistance over the years.
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