Regional districts provide the ability for municipalities and electoral areas to partner in the delivery of services that may be more cost or quality effective to deliver together.
For many years, the partnership for the delivery of fire dispatch in the North Okanagan worked very well. A key element of any successful partnership, however, is the ability to periodically re-evaluate and go in different directions if goals and interests of the partners diverge.
In the spirit of this re-evaluation process, the regional district’s fire dispatch service was the subject of a service review, which was completed in October 2007.
As a result of this review process, the City of Vernon, which was also the service provider, chose to withdraw from the fire dispatch service. The remaining partners, acting on a recommendation from the service review, initiated a request for proposal (RFP) process in order to consider all possible service delivery options. The terms outlining the service objectives were defined, and the City of Vernon was invited to submit a proposal to deliver this service.
The regional district issued the RFP in May 2010. Ultimately, the City of Vernon chose not to submit a proposal to the RFP, stating in a letter: “It is our belief that Vernon has provided a service delivery and funding model for fire dispatch to all North Okanagan stakeholders and, as such, will not be responding to your RFP.”
Due to purchasing law governing local governments, the regional district cannot prevent any independent organization from submitting a proposal in response to an open RFP, and it can only evaluate proposals received in accordance to the RFP request.
Through the RFP evaluation process, the regional district identified Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) as the successful bidder and entered into a contract with FVRD. The partnership with FVRD, with regard to its delivery of the fire dispatch service, continues to be successful, both from a service quality and cost perspective.
While the North Okanagan municipalities and electoral areas have many successful service partnerships through the regional district, the regional district recognizes and supports the continued efforts of any local government to investigate alternative means of delivering services in a cost effective manner. It also supports the autonomy of jurisdictions to make the decisions it feels best to serve the interests of its residents.
Bob Fleming, chairperson
Regional District of North Okanagan