Bylaws promote fire hall structure

A fire service governance commission will be established for Armstrong-Spallumcheen

Changes are getting closer for the Armstrong Spallumcheen Fire Department.

The Township of Spallumcheen joined the City of Armstrong in giving unanimous support to three readings of the proposed fire prevention and inter-municipal fire service agreement bylaws.

“Upon adoption, these documents will provide the foundation of the new governance structure for the fire department,” said Greg Betts, township consultant.

The new bylaws will, among other items, outline the framework for the fire department responding outside its ordinary fire service boundaries, confirm the role and source of authority of the fire chief and department and confirm budgeting, cost allocation and financial matters which includes the current cost-sharing formula.

Once the bylaws are adopted, the new fire service governance commission will be established.

Appointments to the commission include councillors Joe Van Tienhoven and Todd York for the township, and Mayor Chris Pieper and Coun. Paul Britton for the city.

A fire service review, completed by Dave Mitchell and Associates for both municipalities in 2014, identified the need for and recommended the hiring of an additional full-time staff member “to provide additional management support for training, pre-planning and regular maintenance.”

The commission will be tasked with the hiring and may look at the CAOs’ recommendation of adding a second position on a fixed contract basis due to the “significantly increased training and administrative workload.”

“The main focus of the two-to-three year period term contract wold be to provide the department with expertise and capacity to undertake the key tasks to ensure the requirements of the playbook are met in a timely manner,” said Betts.

The City of Armstrong will become both the employer, in terms of fire department employees, as well as the manager of the service effective Jan. 1, 2017.