Council restores firefighter positions

Oct 20, 2014 at 11:00 PM

Funding for the two firefighter positions cut in the 2014 budget will be restored in the 2015 budget, Penticton city council announced Monday.

According to Mayor Garry Litke, the city has been in talks with the Penticton Indian Band since the spring, developing an agreement to provide fire protection, first responder and fire safety inspection services to the band’s new development and residential areas (non-native leasehold improvements) east of the Penticton Channel: Skaha Hills, Riva Ridge, Barefoot Beach Resort, Wright’s Beach Campground and Red Wing.

Funding for the two firefighter positions is being restored, Litke said, to cover the expanded area of fire protection.

In addition, the city is adding a new position of fire training officer, who will be responsible for creating, implementing and co-ordinating the department training program for all staff, as well as serving as the technical training advisor internally and externally.

The training officer, said Fire Chief Wayne Williams, is the first step to developing the emergency training centre at the Dawson Avenue fire hall into a full-fledged accredited live fire training centre, serving the South Okanagan region.

See Wednesday’s Penticton Western News for more on this story.


The way it works on the Greater West Bench is as follows:

  1. Penticton makes decisions about how much to spend on fire protection
  2. They bill us


Is this ideal? Hard to say. We get a professional, well equipped, well trained fire service. We could never get this with a West Bench Volunteer Fire Department, at least not at this price.  But do not kid yourself, the price is substantial nonetheless (look at "fire protection" and compare the number to other numbers on the tax bill).  We pay but have no real input into the decisions.  My own view is that there is an "optimal" number of firefighters for Penticton and the surrounding area.  By "optimal" I mean the costs are balanced by the risks.  I will do 100 push-ups** if anyone shows me this calculation.

** 25 sets of 4

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