The PRRD began the transition process back in February 2011, after public outcry asking for the Regional District to assume control of the department. However, President of the Charlie Lake/Grand Haven Fire Protection Society Doug Allen appeared before the board with other volunteer firefighters on February 23 to ask for control of the fire department back. He cited issues with current Fire Chief Allan Pinkerton not meeting the qualifications to be rehired, and said some members have already left, uncertain about the future of the department.
The Board had two options yesterday: either to revert it back to its previous system of management by the Fire Protection Society, or to continue to take the department over. In the end, the want of the public won.
"I think it makes sense from the point of view of the public meetings we held, and the discussion that happened at those public meetings," says PRRD Chair Karen Goodings, adding the Board "feels comfortable" service will continue.
Although some volunteers have already left, Goodings hopes those remaining will stay on and give the PRRD a chance.
"Hopefully those volunteers will continue to work with us and give us an opportunity to iron out any issues. We're hoping that they will continue on," adding, "If they decide to turn in their pagers, we'll respect that as well."
Starting April 1, 2012, the PRRD will be in control of the Fire Department, under a new Fire Chief and Assistant Fire Chief. The new fire chief, Steve Munshaw, was recently hired and is scheduled to start on the transition date. He has 17 years of experience as a firefighter, and is currently working as Assistant Fire Chief at the Fire Department in Kimberley, B.C. He was chosen out of 12 applicants for the job, by an objective group that included Dawson Creek Fire Chief Gordon "Shorty" Smith.