The Cariboo Regional District will stick with the decision not to fund independent fire departments.
In June the CRD announced due to legal risks would no longer be providing grants of assistance to volunteer fire departments in Big Lake, Horsefly, Chimney Felker Lake, Greeny Lake, Tyee Lake, Hawkins Lake, Likely, McLeese Lake, Riske Creek and Watch Lake-North Green Lake.
At the time chief administrative officer John MacLean said the district had sought legal counsel and determined it would be putting the district and its taxpayers at risk to continue to provide the funding.
During its regular meeting Friday, July 10, the board received letters from some of the impacted fire departments who stated they had been counting on the support.
Area F director Maureen LeBourdais put forth a motion that grants for assistance previously authorized be provided as approved in the 2020 budget for the Tyee Lake Community Association, Big Lake Fire and Rescue Society, McLeese Lake Volunteer Fire Dept. and Horsefly Volunteer Fire Dept. subject to the condition of signing off on a letter the CRD would prepare.
After a lengthy discussion about risk management and liability, the motion was defeated.
Just before the vote, area director Al Richmond said based on the information they received from the legal advice that every director and municipality around the table would be liable of something comes up.
When asked where the grant money will go if not completed, chief financial officer Kevin Erickson confirmed it will go back into surplus.
“If you do not decide to reallocate that money in the next round of grants for assistance it effectively becomes a reduction in tax to your area,” he said.