Castlegar Council Talks Fire Department Donation, FireSmart Funds


Adoption isn't until Monday, February 6th, but Castlegar City Council seems excited about a recent donation to the Fire Department.

The Castlegar Rotary Club is committing up to $60,000 for a UTV, trailer and wildfire skid unit.

Councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff was one of many to express thanks:

“This is a very generous donation by The Rotary and much appreciated because it saves basically the tax payers 60,000-plus dollars right? …. So hopefully we’ve sent them a few thank-you notes.”

Chief Sam Lattanzio explains the equipment would have come in handy for a number of incidents last spring and summer:

“A lot of them were rescue calls, not necessarily wildfires but rescue calls and as you know this is a smaller unit that has a wildfire skid unit on board that can get into difficult-to-access areas as we now are experiencing more and more of those types of responses.”

Mayor Maria McFaddin was glad to learn that future operating costs will be included in future budgets:

“Sixty thousand dollars over twenty years, if we start putting away for it now it’s not a big deal, whereas if we didn’t do what this recommendation says which is ‘start to account for it’ it becomes a big deal when we need to replace things.”

Rotary chose this particular donation over two other proposals.

Another item set for adoption next week is approval of a grant application for FireSmart programming. The RDCK is applying on the Castlegar Fire Hall's behalf, with the City's portion estimated at around $52,000.

The Fire Chief walked City Council through expenditures:

“FireSmart assessment, the neighbourhood recognition program, all the advertising that goes with it, the requirement for the mitigation specialist to go to public events and get the word out….”

“The requirement for number one to have a qualified individual going around doing the assessments, they have to be a registered forest practitioner. For those that may recall back in the early days, in ‘18 and ‘19 we were actually using students to do some of these….”

Councillor Sherstobitoff says the community outreach is certainly appreciated:

“I think this is a vital program that we have and just being at the farmers market and that, how many people reach out and talk to that specialist person there, so I’m 100% in support of this.”

Last year saw 26 Home Partners Program Assessments in Castlegar, seven approved FireSmart rebates and three neighbourhood recognitions.