(City of Pitt Meadows)Pitt Meadows Fire and Rescue has a total of 37 firefighting personnel, 32 paid on-call volunteers and five full-time career members.

Letter: Having paid on-call firefighters in Pitt Meadows is ‘unacceptable’

This mayor, council and fire chief are living in some bygone era.

Editor, The News:

Re: Letter: Pitt Meadows fire department’s priority is safety.

I am absolutely astounded at the City of Pitt Meadows’ refusal to provide a full-time fire service for its residents and businesses.

Recently, the city has built a fancy new art gallery and purchased and placed about 20 very large ugly and totally unnecessary stone planters around Spirit Square, the rec centre and city hall that will require ongoing maintenance.

City money is clearly being wasted when it could and should be used to provide an essential service for our community’s safety.

How are we still arguing about this when every other city in Metro Vancouver has full-time fire service? How can we ask our city to continue to have full-time regular jobs and then after working all day and being exhausted also sacrifice time with their own families to risk their lives to serve a community that doesn’t want to pay them as career firefighters?

It would be in the best interest of our community to have a full-time hall that can respond to all of the calls that other departments do at all times of day and night as necessary.

If something terrible were to happen to someone in our community, I would hate for it turn tragic because it happened at noon when our firefighters were at their day jobs and unable to respond, or on New Year’s Eve because no one was available.

That is unacceptable.

This mayor, council and fire chief are living in some bygone era thinking a city of nearly 20,000 people with an airport and two bridges is well served by a paid on-call fire hall.

Furthermore, by not being able to offer full-time positions, we end up training firefighters who then leave for careers in other departments, leaving Pitt Meadows with no experienced firefighters to respond to incidents.

This is a scandal and I urge other citizens who are concerned to contact the city and council with their concerns before it ends up resulting in a serious preventable tragedy for our community.

There is an upcoming election and now is the time for us to ask for what we deserve.

Samantha Smith

Pitt Meadows

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