TNRD ends funding for “fire brigades”

Upper Clearwater wildfire brigade has not requested any funding from the TNRD: Schaffer

By Keith McNeill

Upper Clearwater’s wildfire team should not expect to get any funding or other assistance from Thompson-Nicola Regional District.

That appears to be one local implication of a decision by the TNRD board of directors on Thursday, Feb. 8, not to provide financial or in-kind contributions to “fire brigades,” by which is meant groups of volunteers organized to fight fires but not funded by tax dollars through a defined local government service area.

“The Upper Clearwater wildfire brigade has never received any funding from the TNRD or my discretionary funding and they have not requested any,” said Carol Schaffer, director for Area A (Wells Gray Country).

Schaffer confirmed that there have been discussions about transferring Vavenby fire department’s old pumper truck to the Upper Clearwater wildfire team.

READ MORE: Upper Clearwater fire crew gets help from credit union (Jan. 13, 2018)

READ MORE: TNRD moves to take over Little Fort fire department (Feb. 9, 2018)

READ MORE: Review recommends TNRD take over Little Fort and McLure fire departments (Feb. 1, 2018)

How the board’s decision will affect the proposed transfer is not yet clear.

The truck is presently in for an inspection, Schaffer said.

“There is a process we have to go through but we will be having a meeting with Upper Clearwater in the near future to discuss the pumper truck,” she said. “Nothing is written in stone yet. We are working together.”

The Upper Clearwater wildfire team was formed by residents of the area during last summer’s wildfires.

As of last month, the team had 22 trained members and eight more in training.

The decision not to support fire brigades revolved mostly around the fire departments in Area P (Rivers and Peaks) such as those at Pinantan Lake and Paul Lake, explained Ron Storie, the TNRD director of community services.

Those fire departments, which appear to be primarily aimed at structural fires rather than wildfires, do not have taxes allocated to them from defined service areas.

Instead, they have been supported in part by discretionary grants from the Area P director.

“Any funding or gifting has been stopped to brigades because of the potential liability they pose to the TNRD,” Storie said. “Inherently, firefighting is a high risk operation where decisions made in split seconds can result in property loss, volunteer injury or even sadly, volunteer death.”

The director of community services pointed out that there are new legislation and standards that now require higher levels of firefighter training and equipment.

Not meeting those standards could leave the TNRD open to litigation.

The decision to end funding for the fire brigades without approved taxation service areas was strongly criticized by Mel Rothenburger, the director for Area P.

Writing in his blog, The Area “P” Post, Rothenburger said, “…politicians have the right to make bad decisions, and the TNRD exercised that right on Thursday.”

The board’s decision to end funding to the community fire brigades was part of a larger decision to stop funding the fire departments within its boundaries that are operated by societies as of 2022.

The society fire departments, such as those in Little Fort and McLure, are funded by tax dollars from local specified areas but otherwise operate independently from the regional district.

After 2022, the only fire departments that will continue to be funded through the TNRD will be those directly operated by the regional district. The TNRD already runs the Blackpool and Vavenby fire departments and the other departments will be given the opportunity to be given the same status.

For more about how that larger decision will impact the fire departments at Little Fort and McLure, see the article on page A3.

Just Posted

Wildfire sparks near perimeter of devastating 2017 Elephant Hill fire

Ground crews and aircraft are responding to an estimated 50 hectare wildfire approximately 55 kilometers northwest of Kamloops, near the Deadman Vidette Road.

A Chance to fly

What a wonderful scenic flight experience for them all to help them understand this beautiful area

Weather (almost) perfect for Ladies Golf Night

It was another wonderful day for Ladies Night Golf on May 10

Wish Trail Ride helps sick children

The annual Wish Trail Ride in Clearwater will be held on Sunday, May 27

Police release video on how to ‘run, hide, fight’ if there’s an active shooter

Vancouver police offer video with input from E-Comm, BC EHS, Vancouver Fire and Rescue

Two-year-old found unresponsive in pool

Mission RCMP located toddler after she went missing from a local daycare

Toronto opening 800 emergency spaces to deal with influx of refugee claimants

Beginning Thursday, Toronto will temporarily house refugee claimants and new arrivals in 400 beds in the city’s east end.

Breaking: Trump cancels summit with North Korea

Trump cancels June 12 summit with North Korea’s Kim, citing ‘tremendous anger and open hostility’ in recent statement

Rivers rising: Floods in B.C., New Brunswick a warning of what’s to come

In B.C., thousands of residents are returning to homes this week marked with red or yellow signs indicating a health inspection is necessary

North Korea demolishes nuke test site with series of blasts

North Korea has carried out what it says is the demolition of its nuclear test site in the presence of foreign journalists.

Study recommends jurors receive more financial and psychological support

Federal justice committee calls for 11 policy changes to mitigate juror stress

Research needed on impact of microplastics on B.C. shellfish industry: study

SFU’s department of biological sciences recommends deeper look into shellfish ingesting microbeads

B.C. dad pens letter urging overhaul of youth health laws after son’s fatal overdose

The Infants Act currently states children under 19 years old may consent to medical treatment on own

Most Read