City responds to rural fire protection inquiries

The City of Williams Lake has received numerous inquiries from both city and rural residents about continuation of rural fire protection services after Jan. 1, 2013.

"The process of finding an equitable solution to rural fire protection services has been a complex and challenging one. Negotiations with the Cariboo Regional District were difficult and inconclusive," the city stated in a press release issued Thursday morning.

"There was extensive deliberation and debate by Council, and decisions were not unanimous. Consistent among all members of Council was the intent to continue the service, and ensure residents were not without fire protection."

The City made an offer to the CRD within the bounds of the costs outlined in the referendum question, which the CRD did not accept.

This left the City unable to offer the service without an agreement in place, due to significant insurance concerns and liability risk.

The Dec. 21 Supreme Court of B.C. injunction allows the service to continue to April 30 without a long-term agreement.

“The City’s relationship with the Cariboo Regional District is very important, and we want to have a positive, constructive one,” Mayor Kerry Cook said. “The City and CRD have important business to do together, and the City is committed to find ways to do that business in a respectful manner. I’m confident that it can happen on this issue as well.”

An information meeting is scheduled this evening (Thursday) for rural residents accessing fire protection services from the city.

Hosted by the CRD, the meeting takes place at the Gibraltar Room and begins at 5:30 p.m.


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