Spring WorkSafeBC and human resources investigations have cost the Grand Forks fire department $75,828 to date, figures released by the city reveal. Though Grand Forks generally shares some of the department’s operational fees with the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, because city fire fighters deal with rural calls, the RDKB will not be footing the bill for the majority of the expenses.
• An investigative report into HR concerns: $10,164
• Additional HR support: $2,756
• Audit of department safety: $12,440
• Review of workplace policies: $10,000
• Hose, hearing and mask-fit testing: $13,468
• New protective equipment: $15,000
• Hose replacements: $12,000
Both the HR and equipment safety investigations arose from complaints raised by a Grand Forks volunteer firefighter last spring, who brought them forward first to the city, then to WorkSafeBC.
Following an investigation, WorkSafeBC gave the department a list of six work orders to complete – among them hose testing and fit testing for masks.
In addition to health and safety concerns, the department member who filed the complaints levelled allegations of bullying and harassment against then Fire Chief Dale Heriot. The city commissioned an HR investigation and, in late July, announced that Heriot would not be returning to work. City staff said they could not say whether Heriot was let go or whether he resigned.
While Dep. Chief George Siegler has been the acting chief since Heriot went on administrative leave last May, the City is now looking to hire a new permanent fire chief. The job posting opened on Aug. 16 and closes Sept. 13.