The plan to extend fire suppression service to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort has been put into motion after council moved to open up discussions with the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD).
Expanding service to Kicking Horse has been talked about for years, dating back to the original owners, however to date it has yet to happen.
“This has been in the works for years,” said acting fire chief Mike Pecora. “Expansions aren’t allowed to happen until they put in a fire brigade or fire service to my understanding.”
In order to provide service, Kicking Horse would have to build a hub, which would act as a satellite fire hall for the Golden Fire Department. The CSRD would also have to provide a fire engine that would reside up at the hill and permanently station a fire engine from Salmon Arm to help fill the need.
In the event of a fire, the hub would be able to get fire suppression started, while up to six members and a truck from Golden make their way up to the hill to support their efforts.
“Hopefully they will have several people up there that can get the ball rolling, so when we arrive on scene we’re just support,” said Pecora. “Unless it’s extremely serious like one of the big hotels, it would only ever be six members and one truck at maximum.”
The agreement would be similar to what the department has with the Nicholson Fire Department, where Nicholson has a full fire department which is mutually supported by Golden when they need extra man power.
The key difference between Nicholson and Kicking Horse Mountain would be the Golden department would remain in full control over the hub on the resort and would be running the show.
“The key is that we actually have to have some place we can go to,” said Pecora. “Nothing can happen like this out in, say, the Blaeberry, because they wouldn’t have a small station or hub we could aid with.”
Pecora said they ran tests this summer to see how long it would take to get up the mountain, which he estimates would be about 15 minutes longer than it would take to get anywhere in town.
The fire department would also need to have an agreement with CP Rail that in the event the train is blocking its way, they can call and have the trained stopped and split to allow fire crews to pass.
This would limit any potential delays to five to ten minutes.
While the plans are only in the beginning stages, Pecora anticipates this service could be coming sooner rather than later.
“It’s my understanding that the CSRD wants this rolled out by fall, so it’s going to happen fairly quickly,” said Pecora. “I’m happy to see it moving forward.”
The additional service won’t cost the taxpayer any additional money, with the CSRD paying for the service on a call-by-call basis, according to Pecora.