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Cortes Fire Review

Since the inception of the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) in 2008 the fire protection service for Cortes Island has been provided through a contractual relationship with the Cortes Island Firefighting Association, which is a registered Society under the Societies Act.

A recent review by FireWise Consulting indicated that the current contractual model does not provide the support required by a volunteer fire department to serve the needs of a growing remote community. The review also highlighted the need to look into the governance and administrative structure of the fire department to address concerns including administration, sustainability, liability, and appropriate governance.

The first priority of the BC Emergency Management System is to ensure the health and safety of first responders and professional volunteers. It cannot be overstated that the Regional District has full faith in the professional volunteers of the Cortes Island Fire Department regarding their commitment to community safety. The concerns expressed in the consultant’s report specifically pertained to the liability exposure that the Regional District incurs from the current governance model.

There is an opportunity on Cortes Island to redefine the governance and support for Cortes Island Fire Rescue to better serve the public and department members.  The Regional District thanks the Cortes Island Firefighting Association board of directors for their insights and continued cooperation as we determine the next steps to move forward.