City initiates strategy for resignations

Vernon claims it can suffice if Okanagan Landing firefighters leave their post

The City of Vernon says it’s prepared if Okanagan Landing firefighters leave their post.

Staff has rolled out a contingency plan if a large number of Landing volunteers decide to resign instead of accepting a new operations structure based out of the downtown Vernon hall.

“Vernon Fire Rescue is prepared to mitigate any emergencies in the city in a timely and responsible manner,” states an administration report presented to council Monday.

“There will be no disruption in the municipal fire service and there will be career and paid-per-call (volunteer) firefighters responding from both station one downtown and station two in Okanagan Landing. Further resources can be moved up and staged in alternate locations as needed.”

Some Landing volunteers have stated they will quit and not accept the new organizational structure, which will see the Landing hall not operate independently as of Jan. 31.

“I am confident some volunteers will come over to the new model,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham, who favoured reorganization.

“I am satisfied we have a plan in place (if there are significant retirements).”

Monday’s administration report outlines plans for recruitment and training of volunteers between now and September, and modified operational guidelines becoming effective Feb. 1, 2013.

The goal is to have the new model fully in place by April 1, 2013.

Coun. Patrick Nicol is disappointed city administration has not met with the volunteers since council decided not to renew a service contract with the Okanagan Landing Firefighters Association.

“I would hope the volunteers would be fully encouraged. The knowledge they have for that area is extensive,” said Nicol, who wanted the service contract renewed with the Landing group.