Christina Lake Fire Rescue officially has its first paid member, a new fire chief who has come to the Boundary from Sidney.
Joe Geary started with the fire department on Jan. 14, after Area C approved the addition of a paid fire chief during last year’s budget consultations.
Geary has been a firefighter for 11 years, and this is his first career position.
“I really enjoyed firefighting and started progressing [in the Sidney fire department],” Geary said. “I … was assistant fire chief in Sidney, in that role for over three years. Last summer decided I wanted a career job in the fire service and started applying.”
Geary said his family is planning on moving to the area in the spring, and so far they love Christina Lake. While it was the job that drew the family to the area, they had been looking to come to the Interior.
“Our plan was to move off the island and get to the Interior, it turned out to be Christina Lake and it’s a beautiful place,” Geary said. “Being from the island, we don’t get much snow, but I’m adapting.”
Geary said the Christina Lake community has been supportive of the move to a paid department chief.
“The community is accepting of it, the idea of having someone working here every day. There is someone to answer the phone, or someone to come in and talk to, and that has been happening more often now that people can call and come in,” he said.
Geary is the department’s first paid member, taking over most recently from volunteer chief Martin Christman and, before that, Ken Gresley-Jones.
Geary said the Christina Lake fire crew is “fantastic,” and he hopes to work on recruiting more members over the next year, in addition to continuing training for existing members.
“The excellent teamwork and camaraderie. They are a good bunch of [people],” he said.