Question 3 from David & Laura re: emergency dispatch system

Below is a response to one of 6 questions posed by David and Laura Slik on the email list on Oct 7, 2018.

 

Question 3. If elected, what will you do to help address the identified deficiencies in our fire and medical emergency dispatch system?

 

In the Oct issue of Our Isle and Times, I described how the Emergency Dispatch Advisory Committee (E-DAC) did extensive consultation with the community and fire dep’t, and treated the community, fire dep’t and Regional District as equal partners to identify a solution that best met the interests of all three parties. The recommended Option C has broad support in the community.

The Regional District lawyer advised that liability concerns would be mitigated if an independent expert review found that the system was operationally viable. This is because policy decisions of the Regional Board are not subject to liability, but operational decisions made when running a service (such as a dispatch system) are. In the words of the Regional District lawyer from April 2017: “the Board needs to know that Option C is operationally valid and provides for a level of dispatch service that is appropriate before adopting it as the Lasqueti dispatch policy” And Once this information is obtained, the Board should be in a better position to make a defensible policy determination and consider Option C”.

The expert commissioned by the Regional District wrote that with a few reasonable amendments (“Amended Option C”), the dispatch system recommended by E-DAC was “operationally viable”. That is, the Dec 2017 operational review provided the information and addressed the liability concern raised by the Regional District lawyer.

The Regional Board asked for a legal opinion on the operational review in Dec 2017. Despite all the previous urgency, there has not been a single public action, information release or discussion on this legal opinion by the Regional Board.

If elected, I would start by taking 3 steps towards resolving the emergency dispatch issue:

  • Find out about the legal opinion, and ensure it is discussed by the Board. I would be happy to represent Lasqueti in a face-to-face meeting to discuss the strengths of E-DAC and the operational review with the Regional District lawyer.
     
  • Rescind the 911 and house numbering service bylaws that have hung like a Sword of Damocles over this community for nearly 4 years, and are obsolete (in part because the Local Government Act has been revised in the interim).
     
  • Stand up for our community and Fire Dep’t interests, and the service changes that our community and fire dep’t want.

 

I would also continue to work with the Fire Dep’t on the Incident and Resource Locator Tool developed by E-DAC, and the Fire Dep’t support committee.

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