Peter McKie didn’t expect to become a firefighter when he moved to South Green Lake.
But he soon found out it comes with the territory.
“It’s one of those things when you come up here to the lake they ask you if you’d like to join the fire department,” said McKie, 69. “Most of the guys join the Fire Hall mostly for the social aspects. It’s a good way to meet people and get involved in the community.”
McKie was more than happy to oblige, becoming a volunteer firefighter of the South Green Lake Volunteer Fire Department in 2008 and quickly spiralling to assistant fire chief, deputy fire chief and taking over as fire chief in 2013.
It’s become a full-time job for McKie, who oversees 29 active volunteer firefighters and supporting auxiliary members. South Green Lake isn’t a high call hall, but McKie is also responsible for paperwork on training and compliance.
It’s worth it, he said, because has so many volunteers. Of his crew, 20 are full-time residents and 10 are seasonal – and they have others waiting in the wings.
“Personally we have one of the best in Canada as far as residents go, they’re more than willing to volunteer,” McKie said. “We have to turn them away.”
The fire hall is just one of McKie’s duties as a resident of South Green Lake resident. He’s also been involved in the Green Lake Snowmobile Club (GLSC) since they bought their cabin in 1999.
It’s all par for the course, he said, noting if you want to see a change in a community, you have to be willing to step up. On the GLSC, he helped obtain a JCP grant to add washrooms and a storage area to the clubhouse, install a septic field and helped with activities such as the annual Snowrama – a family ride to raise funds for the BC Lions Children with Disabilities.
He’s also proud of his firefighters, who continually raise funds to improve the facilities and equipment, including a new four-bay garage and renovating the old Fire Hall with new cladding, roof and upstairs floor in the kitchen and meeting area. The department is also in the midst of installing dry hydrants at the lake accesses, so firefighters can draw water directly from the lake close to the fire scene.
This is one of his favourite things, McKie said, because residents can get a break on their insurance if they are within 1,000 feet of a hydrant.
For fun, McKie likes to snowmobile, quad and boat, while the fire hall is his weekly social event – they meet for health and safety administration and every second week for practice. “This is one of the best places for the four seasons I’ve ever been associated with.”