Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors adopted a policy that formalizes remuneration for firefighters throughout the CSRD
In 2010, the board adopted the recommendations that addressed changes to CSRD Fire Services, including a standardized proficiency and remuneration model for officers and firefighters.
However the policy approved at the July 19 board meeting includes two minor changes from the approved Proficiency Criteria and Honoraria Report.
This includes an increase to the training officer honorarium from $850 a year to $1,500 a year.
As well, beginning in 2013, the hourly rate paid to firefighters and officers who have not received the BC Basic Fire-fighting Certificate will increase to $15 per hour instead of $12 as suggested in the report.
Beginning in 2014, firefighters with the certificate will receive $18 per hour.
Electoral Area E Rural Sicamous director Rhona Martin said concerns about the issue were raised at a recent Electoral Area Directors meeting.
“This could become very pricey – we will be watching this,” she said, acknowledging that when she has talked to members of the public they have expressed embarrassment that the firefighters are paid so little. “As a director, I would like to know if the budget is being pushed.”
Darcy Mooney, CSRD’s deputy manager of Environment and Engineering Services, said, in the past, firefighters have been paid as little as $5 per call.
“This will go to $12 to $15 an hour,” he said. “Once we finalize and update budgets, we will share the information with the board.”
Salmon Arm director Debbie Cannon agreed with Martin, expressing concern for the number of “fake” call-outs.
Representing Area C South Shuswap following the death of director Ted Bacigalupo, Jack McInaly pointed out that until rates were increased, there were few younger members on area fire crews.
“This will enhance training and attract younger people, and that’s what’s needed out there,” he said.