City to update fire bylaws

Port Alberni city councillors voted to update the city’s fire department empowering and fire control bylaws at their Nov. 25 meeting.

Decades old fire bylaws are being dusted off and modernized.

Port Alberni city councillors voted to update the city’s fire department empowering and fire control bylaws at their Nov. 25 meeting.

A fire department empowering bylaw enables the province to allow a city to establish the basic framework of a fire department, something every department in the province has.

A fire control bylaw sets out authorities and regulations, some of which for example pertain to smoking in public places.

According to Port Alberni Fire Department Chief Tim Pley, the existing bylaws covering those areas haven’t been examined or updated since 1969 and 1981 respectively.

Coun. Jack McLeman said he didn’t support the initiative.

“Why would we make a fire department when we’ve got one?” he said.

“Leave alone what we have. It might be better to leave it.”

According to Pley, the contents of the existing bylaw is outdated.

It sets out that candidates for a fire fighter must be between the ages of 18-30.

“That doesn’t fly today,” Pley said. “We need to look at how the legislation has changed, what even still on the books, and exercise our right under the current one.”

The bylaw review has its roots in a report about the Port Alberni Fire Department penned in 2011.

Among the report recommendations was an advisement that the department update its fire service bylaws.

The department has already brushed up bylaws to do with outdoor burning, woodstoves and fireworks, Pley said.

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