The District of Sicamous voted to give dock owners a financial break while reallocating money to the fire department.
Since 2006, the district had been collecting a $125 fee for each boat moorage at a new or replaced marina or dock. The fees were collected into a fund totalling $181,844 for the purpose of purchasing and maintaining a boat for the Sicamous Fire Department.
It its regular meeting of Wednesday, Jan. 13, Sicamous council voted to no longer collect the $125 fee that was funding a fire boat reserve.
In Nov. 2020 it was determined the fire department did not need a boat, that on-water firefighting could be accomplished with a portable pump used from the deck of the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue boat. Firefighting equipment for the search and rescue boat was purchased at a cost of $30,000.
The remainder of the reserve was split into two separate funds for the use of the Sicamous Fire Department.
Fire Chief Brett Ogino said $101,844 would be going towards an in-depth look at possible replacement or upgrades for the Sicamous Fire Hall. Ogino said the current building is almost 45 years old and could use some improvements, but the decision really comes down to what kind of financial burden taxpayers would be willing to bear. The other $50,000 will go towards firefighting equipment.
Ogino said the effectiveness of the pump on the search and rescue boat was put to the test during the August 2020 houseboat fire on Mara Lake. Firefighters aboard the rescue boat used the pump to soak the brush and prevent the fire on the fully engulfed beached houseboat from spreading.