LETTERS: Fire hydrants needed on Spiller Road

Spiller Road is developing a history for fire and needs fire hydrants.

Spiller Road is developing a history for fire and needs fire hydrants.

In the 1980s fires burned in the landfill. These fires were deep in the pile and burned over several years. Only recently the fires are no longer active.

I see smoke plume in the compost from spontaneous combustion several times per year.

In July 2012, a house on Spiller was lost to fire. Had we had normal weather conditions the entire Campbell Mountain area could have been lost to what is known as an interface fire.

On July 17, the interface fire on Reservoir Road had firefighters receive air support. Had this fire started at night, the support would not have been available. Wildland interface fires are more difficult to control due to access and that they behave differently than structural fire.

In January 2013, in the BEHR Services report they stated that the risk of interface fire to areas such as Spiller Road is high to extreme. We need to take into consideration the cost of these interface fires. The Garnet fire’s cost was $5 million without consideration of the loss of 18 homes. The Okanagan Mountain interface fire had a total cost of $117 million with $17 million uninsured.

On February 2014, the Neighbourhood Concept Plan amendments were adopted by council that included hydrants for Spiller Road, however are years away (five to 15 estimated).

There are plans for a hydrant being placed at the landfill. The hydrants for Spiller Road would be an additional 2,000 metres. If the city were to build the rest of the line the cost could be held for the developer who would build the Campbell Mountain subdivision, and this will work in the developers’ favour. Building and pipe costs are rising faster than inflation are expected to double in 10 years.

The contractor could pay for the costs of the hydrants at the time of development of Campbell Mountain as a single line development cost rather than building it at that time. The cost would be significantly below the future build cost. At the 10-year mark this could be half of what the current cost would be. This issue is not so much the cost of fire protection but a realization that we cannot afford not to have it.

Steve Boultbee

Penticton