Liability concerns are keeping taxpayers from providing medical help during a major sports event.
On Wednesday, a majority of the North Okanagan Regional District board voted not to permit firefighters to respond to medical emergencies during the Sparkling Hill Masters World Cup March 3 to 11 at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre.
“We would put the regional district in a difficult situation,” said director Mike Macnabb.
Sovereign Lake is outside of the Silver Star Fire Department’s protection area and NORD staff says that leaving that boundary would create insurance and liability issues.
“The lack of authority to commit the response, that is what we’re talking about,” said Ron Baker, protective services manager.
“It could put us at risk if we did it without authority. We don’t have any coverage for the vehicle leaving the village.”
Volunteer members of the Canadian Ski Patrol System will provide basic first aid, including CPR, during the cross-country ski event. But because it could take the ambulance some time to travel from Vernon, organizers sought assistance from the Silver Star Fire Department during any possible major incidents.
Not all NORD board members accept the decision not to provide assistance.
“I’d rather we’d respond if there was an issue,” said director Patrick Nicol.
Director Will Hansma believes the regional district’s reputation may be in jeopardy.
“If something happens, it could put a really black mark on us if we aren’t prepared for it,” he said.
“When you’re dealing with 1,200 people, the possibility of responding to something is significant.”
In other matters, the NORD board has agreed to use money set aside to market Wesbild Centre to offset the rental costs of the facility, which will be used for the World Cup’s ceremonies and banquet. Rental will cost about $7,000.