Dry fire hall proposal tabled

Regional District of Kootenay Boundary's efforts to restrict alcohol use in firehalls has been put aside.

A move to make all volunteer fire halls in the region dry has been doused temporarily.

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary’s Policy Executive and Personnel (PEP) Committee recently tabled a push to restrict alcohol in regional halls after receiving resistance following consultations last month.

“The concern that the committee members expressed is that it’s difficult enough to attract and get volunteers to come out and make the commitments that are necessary to be a volunteer firefighter and if all of a sudden we start losing people because of this kind of move, that it might not be received very well,” explained John MacLean, RDKB chief administrative officer.

There was feeling amongst the leadership of the fire service and of the regional district that this is something to look at, especially after Warfield made the decision to remove alcohol from its hall.

MacLean said it was an internal decision, not due to any incidents.

The committee looked to the Regional District of Central Kootenay, which adopted a very similar policy for their volunteer fire halls four years ago in response to serious in-house alcohol-related incidents that resulted in rape and death.

“In like many things in life, the majority of the fire halls and the majority of the firefighters did not abuse the privilege and after practice would have one or two beers,” explained Terry Swan, regional fire chief for Central Kootenay.

“But as we all know in society, it only takes one or two individuals to create a huge problem.”

After spending over 30 years as a career firefighter in the Lower Mainland, Swan came on board six months after the change had been made.

Zero-tolerance in the hall is what he was used to so personally it didn’t have an impact on him. But he was pleased to see that after the dry hall policy was implemented, more people came on board.

“Those were the threats and those were the same rattling things that went to our board prior to it. You know, ‘Everybody is going to resign, you’re not going to have any firefighters.’”

In fact, none of that materialized, he said, adding that a new type of first responders were attracted to the job.

“If we talk about anecdotal, I have many conversations with fire chiefs now saying that they’re getting a younger crop of people that are interested in being in the fire service and prior to that, they always sort of viewed the volunteer fire service as an all-boys club and a place for the guys to go have a beer on a Tuesday night.”

The new policy still allows for a liquor license being put in place during special event, he said.

The PEP committee has not washed this policy down and will review it in the future.

Just Posted

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League met for their AGM and announced a number of new initiatives, new awards and changes in their executive committee, as well as the starting date for the 2021-22 season. Paul Rodgers file.
KIJHL announces start dates for 2021-22 season

Season set to begin Oct. 1 with league still following all health guidelines

South Slocan’s Ti Loran is among the recipients of this year’s Neil Muth Memorial Scholarship. Photo: Submitted
Neil Muth Memorial Scholarships awarded to 4 students

Students in Creston, South Slocan and Revelstoke are sharing the honour

The Independent Investigations Office of BC is looking into a Castlegar incident. File photo
Police watchdog investigating Castlegar incident

IIO: Woman sustained a reportedly self-inflicted injury

A wildfire near Cottonwood Lake was put out by Nelson firefighters Sunday night. Photo: Submitted
Wildfire extinguished near Cottonwood Lake

Lightning-caused fire was near one of Nelson’s water sources

West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Central Mountain Air leaving Castlegar airport in July

The airline says market can’t handle two airlines

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Most Read