There is pressure on Vernon city hall to provide additional firefighting resources to one neighbourhood.
Council was told Monday that response times to Canadian Lakeview Estates at the end of Tronson Road are not sufficient, and there needs to be full-time professional firefighters at the hall on Okanagan Landing Road instead of on-call volunteers.
“Timing is crucial in a fire or medical emergency,” said Jim Dubois, with the Lakeview Estates Community Association.
“A reasonable response time would be possible if the existing Okanagan Landing station was staffed with two on-duty firefighters per shift.”
Dubois says the presence of professional firefighters would benefit all Landing residential areas.
“We feel strongly that this is not a discretionary service that we are presenting. Rather, it is a basic, essential emergency service.”
Dubois says it can take volunteers 14 to 20 minutes for volunteers at the Landing hall or career firefighters from downtown to reach CLE, and that has a negative impact on fire insurance rates.
LECA has previously called for a fire hall to be constructed on Tronson Road but Dubois believes career firefighters at the Landing hall is an interim measure,
“Consider the resources currently available to you,” Dubois told council.
Coun. Mary-Jo O’Keefe is opposed to unionized firefighters being stationed in the Landing.
“We have had a strong volunteer department there,” she said, adding that the Landing has been integrated into Vernon’s firefighting structure.
“We’ve been assured by the fire chief that the response time has increased. CLE is being provided with better service.”
Mayor Rob Sawatzky wouldn’t speculate on what council may do with LECA’s request because of implications such as costs.
“I don’t want to comment until we see what response times are,” he said.