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City of Fort St. John looking at all options when it comes to fire dispatch

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John is going to be looking at all options available to them when it comes to fire dispatch services.

With the recent vote from the directors of the PRRD that will see fire dispatch services move from Dawson Creek and Fort St. John to Campbell River on Vancouver Island, the City of Fort St. John wants to make sure they have researched all options before it actually happens.

At a committee of the whole meeting yesterday in Fort St. John, Mayor Lori Ackerman asked the City to find out some information to bring back to them at the next Council Meeting.

“First of all, we can’t have a robust conversation until everything is released from the (PRRD) closed meeting but we have been told that they are going to take the next little while to gather all of the information and go through it for the Freedom of Information Privacy Protection Act and then they will be able to release it.”

Ackerman goes on to say the City needs to take a look at certain aspects.

“The City of Fort St. John I think, has to take a look at this and see what are our options because if this does go through, we will have no dispatch in northeast B.C. for fire, ambulance or RCMP. It will all be done outside of the region so I’m interested in Council asking staff to take a look at first, the timeline and seeing if there is a timeline from our dispatch to North Island taking over and what time we have there. Would that allow for any kind of consultation with our community? I believe we need to have that conversation with the community on what they would like to see and we need to understand what the impact is.”

She also wants to see if the City of Fort St. John could do dispatch themselves.

“Could the City of Fort St. John do dispatch for the the City of Fort St. John if possible? What would the impacts be and would it be just for the City of Fort St. John or would it be for the fire protection area? How does that impact us operationally, financially and all that kind of stuff. I think we owe that to our residents and businesses.”

The City said they can look at proposals that were sent to the Regional District but did also advise that it could take a little bit of time in order for that to be done.

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