Decisions on size of emergency services should be decided by safety standards

Council needs to undertake analysis of Mission's strategic fire plan

Editor, The Record:

Re: Letters are ‘fear mongering:’ Jewell, Nov. 22 edition.

Our new council has done some very good things, and none greater than the decision to broadcast council meetings on its website. If they hadn’t chosen to do so, I might have missed the obvious abandonment of basic respect and democracy that occurred Nov. 19.

By his own count, Coun. Jeff Jewell reported that 75 per cent of the public’s budget feedback this year raised concerns about the decision not to move forward with the district’s strategic fire plan. It was based on a year of analysis by former Chief Frank Ryan, using data that clearly showed Mission’s response times in the downtown area did not meet national standards. The reason was simple; our community is growing, but it has been a struggle to maintain a suitably sized paid-on-call force.

Our volunteers knew that Ryan’s recommendation to hire professionals was not a slap in their faces, as so many on council implied Monday night. Indeed, the plan called for a composite force using a core of 16 full-time firefighters — hired gradually over a period of years — along with a healthy complement of volunteers. And where would we hire our full-timers? From the best of our volunteers, because, after all, they have proven themselves to this community and Mission has invested significantly in their training and development.

But Jewell and the rest of council chose to dismiss the feedback because, in their words, it looked like an organized campaign. They accuse the letter writers of fear mongering, bullying and misleading the public. Such language is incredibly disrespectful to our fire department as it suggests they are more interested in self-reward than in protecting our lives and property. Having worked with these dedicated men and women, I can testify that nothing is further from the truth.

Jewell insisted council will stay its course, and demanded that the “organized campaign” cease and desist. He indicated that nothing will change the council’s mandate of low taxes, and his colleagues applauded this notion.

Shouldn’t decisions about the size of our police and fire squads be done based on standards of safety, as opposed to political promises about tax rates? After all, why pay taxes if core services aren’t being provided?

Mission’s council needs to show a higher regard for its correspondents, delegates and questioners. And it needs to undertake a simple, arms-length and expert analysis of the strategic fire plan rather than simply dismissing it out of hand. The first suggestion is a matter of a democracy. The second is a matter of public welfare.

Paul Horn


Just Posted

Rockslide closes Coquihalla northbound

Highway 5 is closed in both directions according to DriveBC

UPDATE: Wind warning has ended for Metro Vancouver

More than 34,000 BC Hydro customers in the dark on Sunday morning in the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast

Downtown Mission: Ready to revitalize

With the bidding process underway, construction could start by mid-March

Guilty plea issued in case where man, 86, was assaulted and robbed

Hughie Stump pleads guilty to break-and-enter in relation to Abbotsford incident

WIND WARNING: Metro Vancouver expecting 100 km/h gusts Saturday night

Environment Canada issues warns of possibly dangerous conditions

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington on Vancouver Island

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, vehicles buried under more than three feet of snow

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Coquihalla drivers prepare for snow

Wintry conditions persist, with snow warnings for Coquihalla

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

Most Read