Residents of Annis Bay have requested through the Columbia Shuswap Regional District the extension of fire suppression services from the District of Sicamous. File photo

Annis Bay seeks fire protection

Annis Bay may soon fall under the District of Sicamous’ fire protection services.

District council has given its support to a request by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District to extend fire suppression to Bender Road and Annis Bay in Electoral Area E.

A report by Fire Chief Brett Ogino states the request originated from the 59 residents of the community, approximately 12 kilometres east of Sicamous.

Final approval would depends on the CSRD receiving sufficient approval by Annis Bay residents through a petition process. Furthermore, all costs associated with the provision of fire suppression are to be covered by Annis Bay property owners who benefit from the service through a cost sharing agreement between the CSRD and the District of Sicamous.

Ogino explained to the Eagle Valley News that Annis Bay properties are out of the jurisdiction of both Sicamous and Salmon Arm fire departments.

“We’ve had calls, like bushfires and vehicles that have caught fire in the bush and stuff,” said Ogino. “We worry about it spreading so we would respond, but usually it was through a forestry task number, it wasn’t just we’re going out there to fight a fire. I think Salmon Arm has an agreement for car fires and motor-vehicle accidents out to Annis Bay, but they don’t actually do fire protection in Annis Bay.”

Asked if there might be access issues for fire tenders to reach Bender Road properties, Ogino said some work is needed.

“It’s tight in spots, we’re going to be looking for them to do some work in there to clean it up,” said Ogino.

During council’s discussion on the request, the fire chief was in the 100 Mile House area fighting wildfires and was unable to answer questions. (Ogino and Sicamous firefighter James Reid have since returned to 150 Mile to rejoin the effort.) But Ogino is supportive of Sicamous expanding fire suppression services to Annis Bay.

“ Basically, they’ve requested it, we’ve offered it and it’s moving in that direction,” said Ogino. “We’re hopeful that everybody is going to say yeah, OK, let’s make this work.”