White Rock’s fire safety assessment upgraded

Fire Underwriters Survey gives some of highest marks in Canada to city

White Rock’s rating for public fire protection has received a significant upgrade.

At Monday’s council meeting, fire Chief Phil Lemire cited results of an independent Fire Underwriters Survey of the city’s fire-protection system.

While the city retained the same Grade 1 standing in dwelling protection it has received since 2001, it has jumped two points upward to a Class 2 in public fire protection, one of only two communities nationally in the 15,000-to-25,000 population range to achieve this level.

Lemire’s report cited “ongoing improvements to the water distribution system and storage capacity,” as being one of the key elements to the improved classification, along with the long-term effects of the city’s fire sprinkler bylaw, and the implementation of recommendations on fire prevention and public education programs provided as part of the last survey, in 2009.

Mayor Wayne Baldwin was swift to interpret the results as an endorsement of council policy.

“(They) verify what we have believed for several years, that the investment of $11 million into our water-distribution system would greatly increase our firefighting capabilities over what we had with a privately owned utility,” he said.

“This is a testament to the benefits of public ownership and of council following the advice of professionals, both consultants and our own staff.

“As a privately-owned utility, the government-approved mandate was primarily two-fold. First, to make money for the owners, and second, to distribute water to the city for domestic purposes. Firefighting was not a primary concern.”

The utility only installed fire hydrants, he said, when and where the city asked, and at the city’s expense. Subsequently, he added, the utility would charge the city an annual fee for hydrants well above the maintenance costs.

“In the face of extreme criticism and opposition, council steadfastly followed the advice of educated professionals, including both consultants and our very own, competent staff, and as a result it has been independently verified that we have greatly improved the safety of our city.”

In the May 15, 2016 fire that devastated the Ocean Ridge condominium and retail complex at Five Corners – since repaired and reoccupied – city water reserves were depleted by firefighting efforts, which resulted in a call to Surrey for additional water.

When two residents requested a formal incident investigation later that year, Baldwin said he hoped any investigation would include results of the Fire Underwriters Survey of the city.

“In the past we’ve passed that with flying colours – I assume that’s still the case,” he said at the time.

Baldwin concluded his remarks Monday night by leading councillors in a standing ovation for Lemire and other staff members.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Ottawa intervenes to get 13-year-old ball player to Little League World Series

Before immigration issue was resolved, Dio Gama was out practicing the game he loves Wednesday

Surrey chosen as Canadian bid city for Olympic softball qualifier

Canadian entry will vie for 2019 tournament with bids from North, South and Central America

Thieves steal supplies, tools and juice boxes from Delta summer camp

‘Take a moment to think about who you stole from,’ says Burns Bog Society’s Mark Robertson

Delta police secure 94 charges in dial-a-dope bust

Seven people with ties to the Red Scorpion gang are facing drug and firearm charges

Serious collision in South Surrey

One to hospital with serious injuries; 16 Avenue remains closed

VIDEO: North Delta celebrates International Cat Day

We asked our readers to send us photos of their feline friends and they did not disappoint

Altidore nets 3 as Toronto drubs Whitecaps 5-2

Vancouver falls 7-4 on aggregate in Canadian Championship final

Pet goldfish invades small B.C. lake

Pinecrest Lake is located between Whistler and Squamish

Metro Vancouver water reservoirs in ‘good shape’

Reserves sitting at 70-per-cent full, officials said, despite long stretch without major rain

Mounties deployed to help B.C. communities affected by wildfires

RCMP officers heading to places particularly within central, northern and southern B.C.

Chinese medicine practitioner in B.C. facing historical sex assault charges

71-year old Kit Wong practiced acupuncture from his home during the time of the assaults

Quebec sets aside $900 million for companies hurt by U.S. tariffs

Premier Philippe Couillard says his government will make $863 million available over five years

B.C. company patents Sasquatch, the country’s first homegrown hops plant

Created by Hops Connect, Sasquatch hops are being grown commercially for the first time in B.C.

Most Read