CRD Chair Margo Wagner goes over the temporary solution that they came up with.
“The City of Quesnel fire department has agreed to offer service to Kersley up until February 11th. Is it an ideal solution, probably not, but it will enable fire protection to still be provided.”
As for what happens after that, Wagner says.
“Our goal is to try find another option. I am hearing that the CRD officer is receiving the status of certain fire fighters on their vaccine status, and some of them are from Kersley, because up until today we didn’t have any information. However, I am hearing some are sending that information in. It is a fluid situation. We are aware of the concerns and we are trying our hardest to make sure that a more permanent plan is in place.”
Wagner says recruitment will also be doubled, and will focus on the departments that have lost members due to the vaccinate rule.
We also asked Wagner if fire fighters that have chose not to be vaccinated will be welcomed back once the restrictions are lifted down the road.
“My understanding is once the pandemic becomes endemic, so it’s basically just like a regular flu, you know the flu that some of us get vaccinated for but it’s not mandatory. Then the recommendations and all of that stuff would be done, so yes, as soon as it is safe the workplace rule that has been implemented by staff would be lifted.”
Wagner adds that she just wants to reassure all residents, saying she knows this has caused a lot of distress, that the elected officials are really working as hard as they can to get us through this, and to come out the other side with fire departments that are functional and operational.
The Kersley Fire Hall is closed !
A sign is up at the entrance to the hall.
All of this follows a decision yesterday (Wednesday) by the Cariboo Regional District Board to rescind a request to the Chief Administrative Officer to delay the implementation of a mandatory vaccine workplace rule for fire fighters for 60 days.
Mary Sjostrom is the CRD Director for Area A…
“I know that behind the scenes they are working to try and make this a short closure. I can’t tell you anything more than that, but I understand from staff that they are working out an alternate plan so there is continued protection for the community. Without directly talking to staff, everybody has been extremely busy today, and I haven’t been able to find out anything more than that.”
Sjostrom says she was told in an a-mail at 8-15 this morning that staff was working on a plan and that she would be kept in the loop.
She encourages residents in the area to contact the CRD if they are concerned.
“Our Protective Officer Stuart Larson and our Acting CAO at the moment is Alice Johnston, and I encourage them to reach out to the Regional District because they will probably have an answer earlier than I will.”
Sjostrom says as far as she knows the decision by Kersley fire fighters was made at their regular meeting on Wednesday night.