The North Westside Fire Department is onto yet another new chief.
Alex Van Bruksvoort was released from the position while he was still in his probationary period. It was a mutually agreed decision, according to Okanagan West electoral area director Wayne Carson.
“I understand that this was a conversation the regional district had earlier this week; that they sat down and had the conversation,” Carson told the West K News on Monday.
While the regional district undertakes the hiring process to fill the opening, fire department Capt. Nic Cantryn has been promoted to acting fire chief.
A long-term resident of the community, Cantryn has held a leadership position in the department for a number of years already.
Whoever the regional district finds to fill the opening permanently, Carson, a former department fire chief, hopes the person will be someone from a similar rural community, bringing experience appropriate for dealing with a community directly interfacing with the forests.
“I would prefer the chief be somebody that came up through the department …I do not think it has really served our community well bringing in retired career people from major departments to run a small rural department like this,” said Carson.
After several years of turmoil within the department– beginning with the indefinite suspension of chief Jason Satterthwaite and Lt. Rob Gajda, and most recently the departure of Van Bruksvoort – Carson hopes that whoever replaces them will have the confidence of the department in order to lead firefighters in their duties of fire response, medical response, vehicle incident response and all of the department’s other responsibilities.
“I think it just needs a strong leader who has the respect of his crew to put that stuff in the rear view mirror and get on with the business of being a fire department,” said Carson.
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