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SLRD seeks input from Area C residents

information meeting scheduled to discuss fire protection service



The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) is seeking input from Area C residents concerning their fire protection services.

Residents of the Area C neighbourhoods of Pemberton Fringe (surrounding the Village of Pemberton), the Heights (Ivey Lake, Reid Road, Walkerville, Owl Ridge and the surrounding area) and on Pemberton Meadows Road are invited to an information meeting on Thursday, Sept. 3 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Pemberton and District Community Centre to learn more about their fire services.

Pemberton Fire Rescue currently serves those neighbourhoods, but with that contract set to expire at the end of the year, negotiations are underway for a new agreement.

"We thought that this was a really good time to get input from everybody that is being serviced, and just get their feelings on what level of service they want and how much they want to pay," said SLRD Area C director and former Pemberton Fire Chief Russell Mack.

"This is their opportunity to actually get that out before we go and sign the contract."

Residents will learn about the factors that affect their insurance rates — set by the Fire Underwriters Survey — such as the distance of their property from the fire hall and fire hydrants.

"I'd really like to see as many people as possible turn out," Mack said.

"Because then we can have a really good discussion, and then when we go forward with our negotiations on a new contract, and have a pretty good understanding then of what the people are willing to pay and what they want."

The SLRD has also put forward two resolutions for the upcoming Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) convention, to be held in Vancouver Sept. 23 to 25.

The first asks the provincial government to continue to cover the costs involved with inspecting and enforcing fire safety regulations.

"The province is considering requiring regional districts to do fire inspection, but are not suggesting that they will pay for that service," said SLRD chair Jack Crompton.

"So it's a classic case of provincial downloading. They create a requirement and then they force local government to have the enforcement function. So our goal in that resolution is to ask the membership of UBCM to petition the provincial government to fund that function if they continue with their current direction."

The second resolution asks the provincial government to conduct a thorough review and assessment of roadside safety — particularly in the areas north of Pemberton.

"We would really like provincial eyes on our roads, especially around Lillooet, Bralorne and Gold Bridge," Crompton said.

"The gist of that request is that the province spend more time and more money looking at our roads, increasing the safety on the roads."

If the resolutions are passed, the UBCM's board of directors will lobby the provincial government on the issues.