Fire Service Report released

Town of Qualicum Beach released edited version; The NEWS obtained its own, unedited copy and fills in the blanks

The NEWS has obtained an unedited version of the Fire Service Report made public by a motion of Qualicum Beach town council on April 8. When it released its edited version of the report on Wednesday afternoon, Town spokespersson Patricia Huntsman wrote: “The Town has severed personal information in accordance with its privacy obligations under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.”

Eight points in the 16-page review were removed from the report by the town before sending its version to The NEWS. Items omitted from the version of the Fire Service Report released by the Town of Qualicum Beach on Wednesday are as follows:

Under the summary findings section:

• There are four officers where there are concerns (e.g. safety practices; firefighter trust; treatment of firefighters; relationship with the Chief).

• The Fire Chief is seen to be unapproachable by some firefighters.

• Department members allege that there are differences in treatment depending on a firefighter’s relationship with the Fire Chief.

Under the survey results section:

• The Fire Chief is seen to use an authoritarian/directive management style. This is not well accepted by some firefighters and is a factor that directly or indirectly affects morale.

Under the impacts of low morale section:

• “Several officers cannot be trusted to be safe.”

Under the major recommendations section:

• The town should evaluate the performance and future of the fire chief.

• Assuming the fire chief remains in his role, he should improve his leadership and management skills through coaching, mentoring and courses.

Under the firefighter survey results section (exhibit 2):

• (Question number 10) The Fire Chief is an effective leader and manager. RATINGS (out of 10): Firefighters – 3; Officers – 6; Difference – 3.

The town’s edited version of the report is available at town hall. On Monday morning, The NEWS asked Mayor Teunis Westbroek four questions related to the report and he responded by e-mail

The NEWS: In general, what is your view on what specific action(s) the town, mayor and/or council should commence in reference to the 26 recommendations in the report?

Westbroek: “The Town is considering each of the recommendations in the report and will make decisions on next steps.  We look forward to opportunities to improve the Department, while continuing the Department’s record of providing excellent service to the community. The Town will accomplish this by working collaboratively with the Fire Department to prepare an action plan to address the recommendations in the report.”

The NEWS: Major Recommendation #1 was: “The town should evaluate the performance and future of the Fire Chief.” Our question is this: Has this been done to your satisfaction?

Westbroek: “The Town has a duty to not disclose any personal information including comments about individuals.”

The NEWS: Are you concerned that with the reinstatement of the chief that the department will lose members?

Westbroek: “I am always concerned about losing any volunteers but by taking action on the recommendations in the report, I trust that the volunteers will continue to serve the Department and the community as they have done so well in the past, as specifically acknowledged in the operation performance in the Fire Service Report (page 4):

• There has been excellent firefighter retention with few losses over the past two years.

• There are 15 firefighters with over 5 years of service.  Qualicum Beach residents are well served with a high proportion of very experienced firefighters.”

The NEWS: In light of several things written in the report (for example: “I come to an incident call and see who the officer in charge is. If the person is unsafe or hard to work with, I wait for the next truck.”), should the taxpayers of Qualicum Beach be concerned for their safety?

Westbroek: “No – the report also states that the Qualicum Beach Fire Department is very successful based on performance factors:

• Response times are running at 7.24 minutes (2012), which is very good for a paid on call fire service.

• The average number of firefighters responding to calls is 4.6, which again is very good.

• WorkSafe BC incidents have been very low.

• Firefighters are well trained with relatively high levels of certification (e.g. 17 NFPA 1041 fire service instructors at level I or II).

However, the Town recognizes the seriousness of the areas for improvement, such as morale, and the importance of working in-step with the Fire Department to address these concerns.”

 

Just Posted

The Parksville Civic and Technology Centre at 100 Jensen Ave. (PQB News file photo)
Parksville 2020 annual report now ready for public feedback

Documents can be viewed online; comments or questions to be submitted before noon on July 5, 2021

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased in Parksville

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Most Read