November 28, 2015 - 10:30 AM
PENTICTON - Cost savings are being realized as the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen moves into the final phase of its region-wide emergency communications upgrade.
Planetworks Consultant Doug Joinson told a recent regional district board meeting the elimination of Okanagan Mountain as a radio repeater site saved $750,000 and $70,000 in annual maintenance costs. The Lost Moose site up Carmi Road was used instead, for one third the cost.
The regional district embarked on what has turned out to be a sometimes controversial upgrading program for the region’s emergency radio service, with a service delivery review in 2010. A number of issues were identified including poor radio installation standards at many of the region’s fire departments. An upgraded configuration of radio repeater sites was also envisioned.
The upgrades are now in their final stage of implementation and the revamped system is expected to be ready for a system audit by the end of the first quarter of 2016.
District emergency services supervisor Dale Kronebusch said one of the biggest challenges of the project so far has been inflation, as costs were set three years prior to implementation. The savings from relocating the Okanagan Mountain site are mitigating the effects of inflation and the depressed Canadian dollar, Kronebusch said.
"We have just completed the Zone 3 linkages from Kelowna (fire dispatch) to Hedley, Princeton and Tulameen via Lost Moose - Apex Mountain,” Kronebusch said.
"The zone is complete and operational in two of the three communities.”
Zone 1, consisting of Penticton, Summerland, Naramata, Kaleden and Okanagan Falls is scheduled for operational capability in early to mid-December, Kronebusch added.
He said the regional district also planned to have Zone 2 (Keremeos, Willowbrook, Oliver, Osoyoos and Anarchist Mountain) operational in January 2016.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015