Following a comprehensive review, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) is moving forward with recommendations to enhance and update its six fire services.
The first step was to hire fire services coordinator Darren Oike, said Debbie Demare, Electoral Area A director with the SLRD.
"He will be working with both the communities and each (of the) fire services over the next year," Demare said. "He's got the recommendations for each fire service from the report, and so one of his main tasks will be to kind of move everybody to a point of decision around these fire services."
For some of the services, like the volunteer department of Britannia Beach and Garibaldi, the recommendations involve minor enhancements around organization and communication. For others, the way forward isn't so simple.
Four of the SLRD's fire services are operated by non-profit societies that don't report directly to the SLRD, Demare said.
"The thinking was that by operating... through a non profit society, it would save on SLRD administration and all those things, and this was years ago," she said.
"But it has come back to us through this review that the operation of a volunteer fire department through a non profit society puts the SLRD in some ways at a little more arm's length, but the risk and liability is still direct.
"With all the sort of regulatory and liability changes in the last 20 to 30 years, we have to modernize," Demare said.
Changes to existing governance and service delivery models may be necessary in some cases, though at this point it's not clear what those might look like, Demare said.
Throughout the process, the SLRD will consult with affected communities to gather feedback and answer questions.
The SLRD currently provides fire services for Gun Lake, Bralorne, Seton Valley, Birken, Britannia Beach and Garibaldi, as well as portions of rural areas under agreements with member municipalities.
The fire services review can be viewed online at www.slrd.bc.ca/inside-slrd/reports.
Health Canada considering license application for Pemberton marijuana producer
Pemberton may soon be home to another major agricultural industry after it was announced recently that Health Canada is considering an application for the community's first licensed medical marijuana producer.
In its application, BCBud Producers Inc. relied on its lease option of a 17,000-square-foot facility in Pemberton's industrial park with a growing space of approximately 10,000 feet. The building would be a newly constructed facility that applicants said could hold up to $31.25-milion in product, with an annual production capacity of 3,125 kilograms.
In a December report, the village revealed that staff has been fielding an average of one call per week from prospective growers interested in establishing a facility in the community's industrial park. The area has been zoned M-1 for medical marijuana production.
A representative from BCBud could not be reached for comment.
Council also turned down a recommendation from staff to explore the production of medical marijuana as a business opportunity for the village. -Brandon Barrett