Community Services Manager Mark Woods and Emergency Services Supervisor Dale Kronebusch briefed regional district directors on plans for further study by Planetworks Consultants on 9-1-1 infrastructure within the regional district.
Planetworks Consulting Corporation’s Dave Mitchell was scheduled to appear before the Protective Services Committee on Jan. 5, to discuss the 9-1-1 dispatch service delivery review, but was unable to attend. A study by Planetworks in 2011 resulted in the recommendation to move dispatch service to Kelowna. A second part of that study — still to come — will look at regional district technology used to deliver the message.
Woods told the board that 9-1-1 infrastructure was still the regional district’s responsibility and still had to be paid for. Woods, described the present system, working through Kelowna dispatch’s communication via radio over internet protocol to school district 67’s communication tower on Jermyn Avenue in Penticton. From that point, the 9-1-1 signal uses regional district infrastructure to get to the designated department.
“The system is working, but limping along,’ Woods explained, “It’s an old system.” He told the committee that a telecom — engineering study needed to be done, making a request for budget money to come from capital reserves. Woods noted that a recent upgrade performed in the Central Okanagan Regional District cost $750,000, and was proving to be of great benefit to the CORD.
“We have a larger and more complex area here, with more radio communication challenges,” he observed. CORD constructed a series of towers, and integrated radios and pagers across the district, making the operation similar to what the RCMP use.
Once the study addresses costs, the regional district would provide the upgrade information to various fire departments in order for them to budget accordingly.
The upgrades would be phased in over three years.