EDITORIAL: Vernon must extend service

Hopefully common sense will prevail over fire protection in the Commonage.

The City of Vernon is indicating it will investigate possibly entering into a contract to provide fire protection to 98 properties outside of its boundaries. This comes just three months after council vetoed the concept.

Ultimately, it makes sense for Vernon firefighters to tackle blazes in the Commonage portion of electoral Area B.

One, they drive past many of these properties to reach the Commonage portions in the city, and particularly Predator Ridge. Two, quick action may keep a fire from spreading and threatening homes within Vernon.

The properties along Commonage Road, Bailey Road and Highway 97 are part of the city’s ultimate boundary plans, and sharing a service may foster that future relationship further.

It has been previously explained that Vernon can’t send its firefighters into Area B because of liability. However, that issue could be addressed if a contract insists the North Okanagan Regional District is responsible for any liabilities that arise within its area.

Coun. Jack Gilroy has expressed concern that Vernon fire trucks could be put at risk because roads in the rural Commonage don’t meet city standards. But Gilroy should realize that not all roads in Vernon meet city standards.

Commonage residents aren’t looking for anything free. They are willing to pay for the service as long as the cost is reasonable. They just want to ensure the investment they have made in their homes is protected.

And in the end, it is the protection of life and property that should be the priority, and not where the border is.

-Vernon Morning Star