Members of the Greeny Lake Volunteer Fire Department conduct a controlled burn in December 2019. (Heather Mereniuk - submitted)

Greeny Lake VFD becoming a CRD fire department considered not viable

‘We must ensure that the services we provide are realistically sustainable’

A request by the Greeny Lake Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) for feasibility funds to explore the possibility of establishing the department as a CRD service was denied by the board on June 19 after staff determined that the undertaking was not economically viable.

The request followed an earlier decision by the board to terminate CRD grants for 10 independent fire departments within the region due to concerns over legal exposure.

The VFD has a large enough membership (16), according to staff, to meet the minimum staff requirement. However, the department holds six pieces of apparatus, the newest engine listed as a 1996 pump, meaning it would require immediate replacement of the engine as it is four years past the end of its service life.

The rate would be $237.78 per $100,000 to meet minimum requirements. According to the CRD, they also explored making it a satellite of the Lac la Hache VFD but that had to be discarded because it’s located in excess of 13 km from the boundary.

“In summary, the financial impact to the ratepayers would be substantial and there would be an exceptional administrative burden to staff to further explore this project.”

CRD CAO John MacLean concurred with the assessment.

“While I understand the need for fire services in our communities, we must ensure that the services we provide are realistically sustainable. The challenges we face in fire service administration are already proving to be onerous with the fire departments we have. “

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