Airport fire service an issue in Sandspit

  • Nov. 26, 2007 6:00 p.m.

By Heather Ramsay–Sandspit’s volunteer fire department is in dire need of extra funding, according to the local fire chief. Fire chief Robert Chisholm has requested an extra $12,000 in funding above the annual budget of $22,000, which the volunteer fire department receives from the regional district. The Moresby Island Management committee reviewed his proposal at its Nov. 14 meeting. The additional money is needed for training ($6,000) and gear ($4,500). One of the most immediate training requirements is for air-side and aircraft rescue and suppression, says Mr. Chisholm in his proposal. He says the force is without adequate training and would be unable to provide support in the event of an accident. Funding for the fire department comes out of the Regional District budget and a recommendation from MIMC must be sent before the board can approve any new tax requisitions. Committee members expressed concern that the few homeowners in Sandspit not be forced to take on the tax burden to cover the extra costs. Committee member Carol Wagner doesn’t see why the community should shoulder the cost for a service the entire islands need. She says sending a truck out to help a plane in distress is above and beyond the normal duties of a fire department. “They’re asking for a specific service,” she said. “If we’re supplying airport services, shouldn’t the federal government be paying for training?” she asked. Bob Ells, who was at the Nov. 14 meeting, is a member of the fire department, but he is also the federal government’s airport manager. He says an agreement was made 12 years ago, that the local fire department provide service, in exchange for all the equipment given to them when the airport closed its fire department. He says the government makes a payment in lieu of taxes that might be considered fee for service. Committee member Warren Foster said the document as presented did not provide enough information for him to make a decision. He said the cost of training courses was not included in the document. Other committee members suggested going to other sources to make up the additional cost. Mr. Foster admitted that the Gwaii Trust makes fire department funding a priority, but the proposal has to make sense. Mr. Ells told the Observer by telephone after the meeting that the airport does not require training, that is up to fire departments to decide, but different skills are needed. He says this issue is faced by fire departments across the province. “Ambulance and police have provincial funding and fire departments are left to whatever you can scrape together,” he said.

Just Posted

Fat Tire Girls

Tough north-island duo braves river crossings and storm winds on cycling trek from Tlell to Tow Hill

Time is right for War of the Blink

New Haida manga by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas tells a war story that ends in the blink of an eye

Masset Magic: A Christmas Classic to remember

By Jana McLeod Here I am, a full hour before the column… Continue reading

Protest stops logging near Tlaa Gaa Aawtlaas

After a blockade organized by Old Massett Village Council, local loggers agreed… Continue reading

Queen Charlotte police seeking man wanted for assault

Queen Charlotte RCMP are asking for help finding a man wanted for… Continue reading

B.C. boy denied $19,000-per-month drug to ease ‘crippling pain’ for 3rd time

Sooke mom Jillian Lanthier says son Landen Alexa has been forgotten about by Premier John Horgan

Senior randomly stabbed in B.C. mall food court

Woman arrested after victim, 71, suffers serious injuries

B.C. Liberal hopefuls begin final leadership push

Five MLAs, one outsider pitch policies to party members

UPDATED: ‘Young, innocent’ teen hit during Vancouver shootout dies

15-year-old Coquitlam boy was in a car driving by the scene

Ontario man charged with selling Canadian’s usernames and passwords

Ontario man ran site that peddled billions of pieces of personal data: RCMP

Video: B.C. documentary features Okanagan ice climbing

First documentary for Penticton filmmaker captures elusive Okanagan ice climbing

David Emerson quits lumber talks as legal action begins

Former federal minister served as B.C. softwood trade point man

Singer of the Cranberries dead at 46

Her publicist says Dolores O’Riordan died suddenly Monday in London. The cause of death wasn’t immediately available.

Toronto police say young girl made up story about hijab cutting

The investigation has been closed after 11-year-old girl claimed her hijab was cut by a scissors-wielding man

Most Read