As of December 31st at midnight, Area B in the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) will lose their fire protection that is provided by the City of Revelstoke. An agreement between the two parties has yet to be determined, meanwhile, the CSRD board has given support to seek out legal counsel for an injunction against the city. If the judge approves the ruling then the city will still be responsible for assisting in fire eradication from that area.
Area B Director, Loni Parker stated on a phone interview “The City has refused to negotiate with us. We just keep getting responses that say ‘agree to this or else’…In all the years I’ve been dealing with the City, I’ve never dealt with this before… I would like to add that (Mayor) Mark (McKee) has tried very hard to try to get a satisfactory resolution to this issue but aside from a few concessions Council has been steadfast.”
In a response to the injunction, Mayor Mark McKee stated “ They have filed in court and we haven’t received anything yet. Our response will be whatever the judge decides. If they tell us to continue the service, we will.”
Loss of the fire protection service will force the citizens of Area B to seek extended coverage for their homes and properties, and it won’t come cheap.
RCU-Insurance General Manager Randy Driediger informed the Revelstoke Current, “Many of the homes in the Area B section are not within one thousand feet of a fire hydrant, however, they are fire hall protected, if the injunction is not granted, the home owners will have to up their coverage to ‘unprotected’ which would most likely double their rates. If not more.”
In the October 20th Council Report, CAO Alan Chabot wrote “…The current (37 year old) agreement, given its age and means of approval, cannot be extended for an additional period of time after notice of its termination has been given. A new, modern rural firefighting agreement for rural fire protection is in the best interest of all parties and remains a priority for the City.”
Discussions between the City and CSRD staff about the need for an additional water tender for rural fire protection go back as far as early 2013.
A court date had been set for Monday, December 18th. This court hearing will determine whether or not the City will have to provide service for one more year while negotiations continue.