FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John has gotten approval from the Peace River Regional District Board to sign an agreement to provide fire protection services to the consortium responsible for building a major component of the Site C dam.
According to a letter to the PR Board from Protective Services Director Jim Rogers, the City was approached earlier this year by the Aecon-Flatiron-Dragados-EBC partnership – which won the contract to build the generating station and spillways at Site C – to provide the consortium with fire protection and rescue services for a five-year term while the component of the dam is being built.
He said that staff began preliminary discussions in March, and in late May began negotiations with AFDE about the range of services that would be provided, along with the pricing.
The Fort St. John Fire Department is the only fire department north of Prince George that is listed as a rescue provider under the BC Construction Safety Alliance Technical High Angle Rope Rescue Program that can provide the Tower Crane & high angle rescue services that were being requested by AFDE.
Rogers explained that the proposed agreement is similar to those that the City signed with ATCO and Tembec, under which the Fort St. John Fire Department currently provides fire protection services to the worker accommodation camp at Site C, and formerly provided services to Chetwynd Mechanical Pulp.
In a closed meeting on June 25th, Fort St. John City Council approved a motion to have a letter sent to the PRRD Board asking the Board’s permission to enter into an agreement with AFDE, similar to what was previously done when the City entered into agreements with ATCO and Tembec.
However, at the PRRD’s Board meeting on June 28th, Chair and Electoral Area ‘C’ Director Brad Sperling voiced opposition to the request, citing concerns about the agreement’s impact on the Mutual Aid Agreement between the City and the Regional District.
During the discussion, Sperling stated that his opposition was based on a lack of notice from the City about the agreement, and that there was nothing in the letter from Fort St. John’s Acting City Manager David Joy that addressed the Mutual Aid Agreement.
Despite a request from Director Byron Stewart, the PRRD Board declined to hear Fort St. John Fire Chief Fred Burrows – who was present at the meeting – come forward to explain the request. The Board then voted against granting permission to the City.
At last Thursday’s meeting, the Board then discussed Rogers’ letter that further detailed the proposal, which would see the PRRD compensated for the Charlie Lake Fire Department attending to assist with a fire if the Fort St. John Fire Department were called out to a fire at the dam construction site.
Footage from both Board meetings can be found at the two links below.