Vernon News

Okanagan Indian Band snags new fire truck

From right: Ken Cullen, Firefighter, OKIB Fire Department; Bob Fleming, Electoral Area B Director, RDNO; Dave Lawrence, Fire Chief, OKIB Fire Department; and Mike Doherty, Firefighter, OKIB Fire Department.
Image Credit: RDNO

The Okanagan Indian Band has a new fire truck courtesy of a deal made with the BX Fire Hall in Vernon.

The Regional District of North Okanagan recently purchased a new fire truck for the BX Fire Hall and instead of auctioning the old one off to the highest bidder and collaborated in a deal that will now see the Okanagan Indian Band Fire Department use the truck.

A Regional District media release says that normally the truck would have posted on B.C. Bid and auctioned off to private companies or government agencies. Instead, the Regional District negotiated a deal with the Okanagan Indian Band who will take ownership of the truck.

"We are very excited about this and are thankful that directors Fleming and Shatzko worked together with us on this purchase," Okanagan Indian Band Chief Byron Louis said in the release. "This is a big step up from our current fire truck and will help our community be well equipped in the event of an emergency."

In March 2018, the Okanagan Indian Band confirmed it was conducted a review following a letter from members of the volunteer fire department that highlighted serious deficiencies at the fire hall, including a lack of proper protective equipment or training, and a lack of qualifications to use the equipment.

Regional District does not say how much money the Band paid for the fire truck in the media release.

"There are few things more important than investing in public safety, and it made sense to look to local options for relocating the fire truck instead of putting it out for a province-wide bid," Regional District director Bob Fleming said in the release.

BX-Silver Star director Amanda Shatzko added, "Community safety is of the utmost importance, for us and for our neighbours, and I am happy that we were able to find a mutually beneficial solution for us and for the OKIB."


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