Administration of rural fire service could go back into RDKB hands

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary could add fire protection under its wing.

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) could be adding another level of service under its wing.

The Grand Forks Rural Fire Protection District has been around since 1956 and this could be its last year, as the board has proposed to hand over its legal and administrative obligations to the RDKB.

Prior to 2006, the rural fire district had its own volunteer department, with a paid fire chief and it operated separately from the City of Grand Forks’ fire department.

In 2006, the rural fire service was contracted out to the city and volunteers from both fire departments were amalgamated into one.

Now the board of trustees is feeling redundant because the day-to-day operations are being handled by the city’s fire chief and most administration is dealt with by city staff, according to Murray Knox, chair of the Grand Forks Rural Fire Protection District board of trustees.

“There is a message to change (the service) to the regional district, who already look after a variety of services in the rural area,” said Knox.

Knox explained that the change would simply be administrative and it would eliminate one level of government.

John MacLean, RDKB’s Chief Administrative Officer, said that the regional district would be ready to take over the contract, if the board of trustees so decided.

“The only difference is that there would not be an elected board of directors for the rural fire district,” said MacLean.

Deputy Fire Chief, Kevin McKinnon, believes that operations would stay the same.

“We don’t anticipate any changes at all,” he said.