Firefighters’ union challenges council decision

City will only use volunteer crews at the Okanagan Landing and Predator Ridge fire halls

Vernon politicians are being accused of putting residents at risk.

Council has reconfirmed the city’s previous position that only volunteer firefighters will be used at the Okanagan Landing and Predator Ridge fire halls, and staffing will remain like that at least until 2018.

“Vernon Fire Rescue has long been underfunded and this decision is simply misguided priorities,” said Brent Bond, Vernon Professional Firefighters Association president.

“When the normal level of funding fire protection is in the range of 10 per cent of a city’s budget within B.C., and Vernon continues to languish in the seven per cent range for decades, council missed an opportunity to make our community and our firefighters safer.”

Bond says the loss of property and lives is proportional to response time by firefighters.

“We know that a volunteer response is a significantly longer response than a staffed response,” he said.

“As a result, our volunteers are placed in harm’s way unnecessarily and our residents are placed at far greater risk to property and life loss unnecessarily.”

Coun. Juliette Cunningham says the issue of unionized versus volunteer firefighters arose because the current council hadn’t considered the policy since the 2014 election.

“There are three council members that were not here before so it’s important they have an opportunity to express their opinion,” she said.

Cunningham doesn’t share Bond’s concerns about safety being compromised by only using volunteer firefighters.

“It’s worked very well and I don’t see any reason as to why it wouldn’t continue to work well,” she said.

Council’s motion originally only covered 2016 but Coun. Catherine Lord moved that it be extended to include 2017 and 2018.

“For the next couple of years, the issue won’t come up again,” she said.

Mayor Akbal Mund wouldn’t speculate on whether unionized firefighters could be stationed at both halls after 2018.

“You never know what the future holds.”


Just Posted

After fire, Spallumcheen ranch hopes to rebuild

“We lost over 10 years of work in one night.”

Vernon cops arrest ‘prolific offender’ after evasion attempt

A 25-year-old Vernon man was arrested Nov. 17

Star status for Coldstream’s Jordan Korol

UBC Okanagan basketball product named Canada West third star of the week after career-high weekend

Kalamalka Lakers of Coldstream win first-ever B.C. high school tourney soccer game

Okanagan runners-up stun Port Coquitlam school to wrap up preliminary round in Burnaby

CONTEST: New year, new you

KimXO has partnered with Black Press Media and Third Space for a brand new contest

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Vernon Film Society shows Summer 1993

Film from prospective of a six-year-old plays Nov. 26 at Galaxy Theatres

Religious conference in Vernon Monday

Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada host much anticipated conference titled Pathway To Peace

Okanagan Big Band dances in support of Camp Winfield

Vernon concert raises funds to send special needs children to Camp Winfield thourgh Easter Seals

Love thy neighbour? Or not?

Okanagan Screen Arts Society shows Under The Tree Nov. 26

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Vernon Rocks sees large crowd

Vernon Lapidary and Mineral Club’s event a success

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

Most Read