FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 24, 2016
Fire Services Contract Signing 2015
West Kelowna Fire Rescue, Chief and Council of Westbank First Nation and West Kelowna Mayor and Council gathered for a Fire Services Agreement signing event, celebrating the long-term establishment of a mutually-beneficial agreement committed to providing stable and effective fire protection for both communities.
Chief Robert Louie and Mayor Doug Findlater signed the Fire Services Agreement Today on behalf of their Councils, formally extending long term fire protection by West Kelowna Fire Rescue to Westbank First Nation. The agreement is for 15 years with an optional five-year extension.
“Effective fire protection in Westbank First Nation is vital to both of our communities. All parties wanted a long term agreement to ensure certainty and stability for fire protection for our closely-linked communities,” said Mayor Findlater. “This stability means long-term planning is supported from a fire protection point of view for both organizations, and we are happy to extend our services to our closest neighbor with an agreement that is financially fair to both parties.”
“We see this as a positive and necessary step towards ensuring the continued protection of homes and businesses on our lands,” says Chief Louie. “I commend our respective Administration teams for coming together, working together and delivering an agreement we can all be proud of.”
“West Kelowna Fire Rescue has provided fire protection for Westbank First Nation for years but this agreement refines our role as a partner in the service, and gives us opportunity to provide fire prevention expertise as our communities both continue to grow,” says Fire Chief Jason Brolund. “The long term nature of the agreement also solidifies our relationship which we will be proud to continue to foster well into the future.”
The agreement will be reviewed by all parties every five years to ensure it is still meeting the needs of both communities. Westbank First Nation will appoint Jason Brolund, West Kelowna’s Fire Chief, as its Fire Chief with authority to exercise powers under the Westbank First Nation Fire Prevention Law.
West Kelowna Fire Rescue will deliver the full range of fire and rescue services to residents of Westbank First Nation in the same manner as they do for the City of West Kelowna. Additions to Westbank First Nation Reserves will trigger discussions between the parties and any expansion of the areas covered by this agreement is subject to approval of both parties.
West Kelowna Fire Rescue will provide quarterly updates to Westbank First Nation and facilitate joint training and exercises with Westbank First Nation law enforcement Officers.
The agreement also stipulates that West Kelowna Fire Rescue will be provided opportunity to review and give input into building plans proposed for Westbank First Nation Land.
Westbank First Nation will pay West Kelowna a fee for fire services, calculated annually and reflecting its share of service delivery. The fee is based on BC Assessment Authority property values and the approved fire department annual budget.
The agreement replaces a previous agreement which was signed in 2000 and expires in 2017.