Homemade posters have been placed on the Okanagan Landing fire hall to support the firefighters who are in a dispute with the City of Vernon.

Homemade posters have been placed on the Okanagan Landing fire hall to support the firefighters who are in a dispute with the City of Vernon.

Mayor won’t reopen Landing debate

Sawatzky says he is satisfied with the approach taken with volunteer firefighters

Vernon’s mayor insists that the decision over Okanagan Landing firefighters won’t be reversed.

The city’s contract with the Okanagan Landing Firefighters Association will not be renewed and a single command structure from the Vernon hall will proceed.

“I’ve not seen any information that indicates the need to reopen the issue,” said Mayor Rob Sawatzky.

“As time goes on, I am more convinced that this was the right decision.”

There have been some suggestions that council did not have all of the necessary details before voting and that council should have heard from the Landing firefighters and not just city administration.

Sawatzky disagrees that the Landing volunteers were ignored.

“There has been information exchanged for some time,” he said.

Among the reasons presented for scrapping the service contract with the Landing association are having a common training structure for all firefighters and a single command replacing two chiefs. It’s also been suggested that costs can be reduced.

Landing volunteers have been invited to join their counterparts at the Vernon hall.

“It’s a comprehensive plan that was well thought out,” said Sawatzky.

However, Sawatzky isn’t surprised by the debate  that has surfaced over the future of the Landing firefighters.

“There’s a great deal of emotion and there are some people who want to relive the issues from 19 years ago (when the Landing was annexed into Vernon),” he said.

“Council, though, wants to make the best decision for the community for the times we live in now.”

The decision to end the contract saw Sawatzky and Councillors Brian Quiring, Catherine Lord and Juliette Cunningham in favour, and Councillors Patrick Nicol, Bob Spiers and Mary-Jo O’Keefe opposed.