UPDATE: After the vote, the Peace River Regional District Regional Board also passed a resolution to make public all possible documents.
DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – The Peace River Regional District has voted in favour of moving fire dispatch services from the District to Vancouver Island.
At this morning’s open Regional District board meeting in Dawson Creek, the board approved a resolution that was previously approved during the closed board meeting on December 9th, 2016. At that meeting, the motion was put forward and approved that the board enter into a five-year agreement with The North Island 911 Corporation to provide fire dispatch services to the regional district. That means that for 9-1-1 calls, E-Comm would be the initial public safety answer point, while fire dispatch services would then be taken care of by the Campbell River Fire Department. According to the terms of the agreement, fire dispatch services provided by North Island 911 Corporation would cost the regional district $635,477 over the five years.
During discussion, Fort St. John councillor Byron Stewart made an emotional plea that the board reconsider passing the motion, due to the possibility of lives being lost. Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman and Tumbler Ridge Mayor Don McPherson also voiced their disapproval with the original motion from the closed door meeting, with McPherson pointing out that local jobs would be outsourced elsewhere in the province, and Ackerman stating that the PRRD had already saved money by selecting E-Comm as the initial public safety answer point.
After a discussion of roughly 45 minutes, the board ended up voting 7-5 in favour of the motion, with Directors Lori Ackerman, Don McPherson, Byron Stewart, Betty Ponto of Taylor, and Lorraine Michetti of Pouce Coupe voting against the motion.
The following directors voted in favour of the motion: Area B Director Karen Goodings, Area C Director Brad Sperling, Area D Director Leonard Hiebert, Area E Director Dan Rose, District of Hudson’s Hope Director Gwen Johansson, City of Dawson Creek Director Dale Bumstead and District of Chetwynd Director Merlin Nichols.
Here is video of the debate.