The Peace River Regional District has launched a petition that will let property owners in Charlie Lake decide if the local volunteer fire department should provide road rescue and first medical response services (FMR) to residents.
Property owners will begin to receive petition packages in the mail next week, with detailed information on the process, the proposed services and costs. If they approve one or both of the new services, owners will be levied for training and equipment start-up costs in 2021 and for operating costs in future years. Property owners in favour are asked to fill out and return the petitions by mail. Those not in favour of either or both services can simply not return the petitions.
The Charlie Lake Fire Department currently provides fire suppression services only; road rescue services are provided in Charlie Lake by the nearby Fort St. John Fire Department. While acknowledging that the Fort St. John Fire Department provides excellent road rescue services, PRRD chair Brad Sperling says the Charlie Lake Fire Department is ready to provide road rescue and FMR services if property owners support the change.
“The Charlie Lake Fire Department is considered a full-service fire department and its 30 dedicated volunteer firefighters are trained to the same national standards as full-time career firefighters in a municipal fire department,” says Sperling. “These incredible people are led by PRRD staff fire chief Edward Albury and deputy fire chief Ron Schildroth, both of whom are on site at the fire hall from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday, and both are experienced and deeply committed leaders. There’s no question about the ability of this fire department to provide these services. The question is whether property owners, who would pay for the added services through property taxes, wish to support it.”
The PRRD board moved ahead with the petition as a result of an open house in February 2020, where property owners expressed the desire to understand more about the costs and benefits of their fire department providing the expanded services.
The petition closes on December 7. For Charlie Lake property owners who want more information and to engage with PRRD chair Brad Sperling and staff, the PRRD is holding a virtual town hall by Zoom on Monday, November 23, 6 pm to 8 pm. Find details at prrd.bc.ca/engage. Property owners can also contact PRRD protective services manager David Sturgeon at 250-784-3200 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff McDonald, Communications Manager
250-784-3200Charlie Lake Fire Department petition media release