Regionalization of the E.A. Fire Services

The Electoral Area taxpayers residing in Central Okanagan East & West provide all the funding for the four community fire services; Joe Rich, North Westside, Ellison and Wilson’s Landing. These “community” fire services have provided a combined emergency service to their respective communities for over 160 years. During this time there have been no major issues or liabilities for the taxpayers and residents. Incidents have have been stabilized with no serious on duty injuries or complications. The residents have and remain well served and protected for the money they pay.

This valuable service is provided by well trained and dedicated community members and is, in the opinion of both elected representatives, being mutated into a regionalized service. This would give the residents a service run by the RDCO Management … How is that working for your Planning, Water Systems and Parks! The residents have ABSOLUTELY no say in the cost or level of service of these budgetary services and functions.

As proof I offer the April 14 2016 Regional Board Meeting (the audio is posted on the RDCO web site) where the Fire Service Implementation Report was presented to the Board. This was done in an “ambush style” presentation which has become typical of how Electoral Area services and functions are dealt with at this Board Table. The EA Directors were given this Report a couple of days before this meeting. No prior discussions or involvement by the Elected Representatives was part of the process in the development of this NEW POLICY AND DIRECTION for our fire services. In fact the CAO scheduled a meeting at the end of April! Weeks after they introduced an implemented … draft?

I requested a deferral of this draft report from the RDCO Board Chair based upon procedural fairness until Director Hanson and I had an opportunity to properly examine this major Policy change driven by RDCO Management. Motion denied by the Chair, she wanted to hear the report then would consider a deferral. The report was read against the EA Directors wishes and upon completion the motion to defer was voted down by the Board and a motion to accept the report was supported by the Board with the exception of Director Hanson and myself who voted in opposition to no avail.

This Implementation Report revealed that although it is still in Draft form several of the recommendations from the POMAX report (Note: Both Director Hanson and I rejected and voted against acceptance of the POMAX Report and again were outvoted at the Board by members that neither contribute or participate in this service) have already been implemented.

Procedural fairness is a legal requirement and in fact the heart and soul of Local Government. In the Central Okanagan Regional District from the perspective of the Electoral Areas this element is sadly non-existent.

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