The Peace River Regional District says it has launched a petition for Charlie Lake property owners to decide whether the local volunteer fire hall should provide road rescue and first medical response services.
The Charlie Lake fire hall only provides fire protection, when the service was first established in 1980.
Road rescue services are currently provided by the Fort St. John fire department, but PRRD board chair and Charlie Lake electoral director Sperling says the fire hall is ready to provide both new services if residents support the change.
“The Charlie Lake Fire Department is considered a full-service fire department and its 30 dedicated volunteer firefighters are trained to the same national standards as full-time career firefighters in a municipal fire department,” Sperling said in a statement.
“These incredible people are led by PRRD staff fire chief Edward Albury and deputy fire chief Ron Schildroth, both of whom are on site at the fire hall from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday, and both are experienced and deeply committed leaders. There’s no question about the ability of this fire department to provide these services. The question is whether property owners, who would pay for the added services through property taxes, wish to support it.”
A survey earlier this year found 72% of respondents in support of medical response, and 37% in favour of road rescue.
First year start-up costs for training, equipment, and operations for both services is forecast at $110,750 — or between $13.89 to $55.56 in extra taxes, depending on assessments.
Second year costs are forecast to drop to $53,750, or between $6.74 to $26.94 in extra taxes.
If one or both of the new services are approved, property owners will be charged for training and equipment start-up costs in 2021 and for operating costs in future years.
The PRRD says petition packages will arrive in the mail next week, with further information on the process, and proposed costs.
A virtual town hall will be held Monday, Nov. 23, from 6 to 8 p.m.
The petition closes Dec. 7.
Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at firstname.lastname@example.org.