Equipment already in place on Okanagan Mountain where the regional district hopes to locate a new radio repeater as part of a $1.6-million upgrade to the emergency fire dispatch system.

Equipment already in place on Okanagan Mountain where the regional district hopes to locate a new radio repeater as part of a $1.6-million upgrade to the emergency fire dispatch system.

Voters will get say soon or region’s new fire dispatch system

Reverse referendum opens next week on $1.6-million plan, which appears to have gained support from Summerland and Osoyoos

Another consultant has backed a plan to upgrade the regional fire dispatch system, and now voters will get their say.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen will next week open the alternate approval process to obtain the electorate’s consent to borrow the necessary $1.6 million.

At its meeting Thursday, the board unanimously agreed to begin advertising the AAP next week with responses due in by July 2. A full referendum on the borrowing would be triggered if more than 10 per cent of 68,635 eligible voters register opposition. The money is needed to follow through on a consulting engineer’s November 2012 recommendation to upgrade regional fire dispatch equipment.

The centrepiece of the plan is a new radio repeater on Okanagan Mountain that will combine with two existing units to group 16 fire departments into three zones, each of which will share a radio link to dispatchers in Kelowna. Penticton would maintain its separate direct line since it receives 70 per cent of the area’s calls.

RDOS directors have struggled with the engineer’s complex report and had difficulty countering opposition in Summerland and Osoyoos, so a second consultant was hired to review the upgrade plan and answer questions.

That consultant, Doug Joinson, appeared at a board committee meeting Thursday and told directors that he could “fully support and recommend” the plan as proposed.

But Joinson, the former manager of information and technology services for the Fraser Valley Regional District, noted the importance of establishing a working group of fire chiefs to help them understand and shape the new system.

“It’s something that the fire chiefs (and) fire departments have to buy into, and that’s probably the first, most critical step,” he said.

RDOS directors for Summerland are concerned that because the upgrade calls for the elimination of their department’s direct line to dispatch in favour of a radio link it will share with four other departments, it will amount to a reduction in service.

“While it sounds self-serving, I don’t want to hear Naramata’s calls on the operational channel,” said Summerland Fire Chief Glenn Noble, who also attended the meeting.

Joinson acknowledged that concern, but said the shared radio link could provide a benefit in that it will allow neighbouring fire departments to monitor what’s going on around them.

Summerland Mayor Janice Perrino is also concerned that taxpayers who already paid to upgrade the local system are being asked to pay again to update other systems in the region that didn’t budget adequately.

But RDOS chief administrative officer Bill Newell said individual departments will have to pay for whatever equipment they need for their fire halls, and that Summerland could be reimbursed for what it’s purchased if it’s part of the recommended upgrade package.

Perrino’s concerns were allayed further when the RDOS board agreed to have the fire chiefs examine the feasibility of adding a fifth zone to the new system that would maintain Summerland’s direct link.

Joinson also warned against a second, more costly upgrade option that would connect all departments to dispatch using separate land lines.

“That is definitely an accident waiting to happen from a dispatch point of view,” Joinson said.

Newell said if the upgrade goes ahead as planned, it will be at least two years before enough ground work is complete to move forward with actual improvements.

 

Just Posted

People decided to tag Skaha Bluffs rocks which the Ministry has to go in and now clean up. (Facebook)
Bluffs at popular Penticton rock climbing park defaced

Ministry of Environment is going to clean it up

The City of Penticton is beginning plans to revitalize its north entrance on Highway 97. (Jesse Day - Western News)
Penticton reviewing ideas on how to make the city’s north gateway more vibrant

The city has plans to redevelop the area into a welcoming and attractive entrance

A portion of the Kettle Valley Railway Trail near Naramata will be closed temporarily for upgrade work, including paving. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Upgrades plannned for trail near Naramata

Surface improvement work will mean temporary trail closure

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Skaha Bluffs climbing spots. (Monique Tamminga)
New parking lot and picnic area coming to Penticton’s Skaha Bluffs

The city will turn the access point at Crow Place into a parking and picnic area

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

Vernon Courthouse. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Sentencing delayed in North Okanagan child pornography case

Man who pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography will have new sentence date fixed next week

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Phil McLachlan/(Black Press Media
Man shot at Kamloops shopping centre

The man is believed to be in stable condition

The location of the vehicle incident near Chase that currently has Highway 1 closed in both directions, according to DriveBC. (Black Press staff)
Hwy 1 closed in both directions east of Chase due to vehicle incident

Detour is in effect and drivers are encouraged to reroute to Highway 97 or Highway 97B

Most Read