The emergency services issue is enjoying a new life with the Mount Washington Community Association.
Fire service was slated to be the main topic on the community association’s agenda for its annual general meeting in late June, MWCA president Al Walker said. “In partnership with the Regional District of Comox-Strathcona, the executive of the Mount Washington Community Association has been studying ways and means to provide a fire service on the mountain,” Walker said.
“We believe the lack of a fire service puts people and their property at unnecessary risk.” A previous emergency services proposal was knocked down during a referendum among Mount Washington Resort residents two years ago. People were critical of the way the referendum was handled, and how information was disseminated.
The MWCA went back to the drawing board; the result was the Roycroft
compiled by Roycroft Consulting Services for the regional district, which examined the steps to establish a fire service program.
The report looked at four possible courses of action: a full-time professional fire dept., a part-time force operated through the regional district, a fully volunteer society or the status quo (to do nothing at all).
A full-time professional fire department was rejected as too costly, according to the report. A volunteer society has its merits, however a secure source of funding is needed. Doing nothing would continue to leave residents, tourists and staff alike exposed to a high risk in case of fire.
“Recognition as a service through the regional district offers the most efficient and cost-effective method available," the report states.
The regional district already sanctions fire departments in six other areas within its boundaries. A fire department at Mount Washington could start up with basic fire services only, such as fire suppression and prevention, first responder training and vehicular extraction methods (Jaws of Life).
Walker said the MWCA feels it has come up with a feasible solution for providing fire service at the resort, based on the Roycroft report.
Also at the AGM, the association expected to formally adopt the name “Mount Washington Community Association”.
For more information on the MWCA, visit the website at www.mwcommunity.com.