Fort St. John asks for compensation after fire dispatch concludes

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DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – The Cities of Fort St. John and Dawson Creek might be compensated by the Peace River Regional District for costs incurred due to Regional District fire dispatch services moving elsewhere, though the amount of compensation remains to be seen.

The Board voted at today’s Board meeting to defer a decision to draft a letter to the two cities informing them of the cessation of their existing agreement to provide fire dispatch services to the Peace Region as of October 4th, 2017, and to continue to pay the cities until January 26th, 2018.

The deferral came after the Board received a letter from the City of Fort St. John. In the letter, the City asked the Regional District that they be made whole after the new fire dispatch agreement with The North Island 9-1-1 was passed. According to a resolution passed by Fort St. John City Council, the city would be made whole by the District’s purchase of an FDM/CAD/RMS interface, and the funding of two Firefighter dispatchers for five year. Director Dale Bumstead voiced his agreement with the city’s letter, saying that his community was also facing a similar situation.

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During discussion on the motion to provide the funding for five years, Area ‘E’ Director Dan Rose voiced his opposition to the five year term, stating that there was no precedence. Director Lori Ackerman countered that there was a precedence that had been previously set in the District’s Solid Waste Agreement. After a discussion by Board Directors, the motion was deferred about the terms and length of the compensation to the two cities until after a report came back from staff about how the cities could be made whole.

The Board also voted in favour of writing a letter to Fort St. John asking for clarification over whether the city will continue to dispatch their own fire crews, with a response due by February 28th. District staff said that the clarification was needed, as not having the Fort St. John Fire Department would affect the terms of the contract with North Island 9-1-1. Ackerman stated that the City wouldn’t know the answer until after they had consulted with their citizens, which would take longer than a month.

Finally, the Board passed a resolution to have District staff look at the entire process involved in the fire dispatch issue, and to have an audit done.

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