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General News · 10th September 2018
Shaun Koopman
PUBLIC INFORMATION MEETING 3:00 p.m. on Monday, September 10, 2018 to discuss the


and the


A public information meeting is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. on Monday, September 10, 2018 at the Gorge Hall on Robertson Road to provide information on the upcoming referendum votes for the Cortes Island first responder and community hall service initiatives.
Regional District staff will be in attendance to answer questions regarding the voting process and the possible next steps should either of the 2 referendum questions be supported by the electors of Cortes Island. There will also be an opportunity to receive applications from those electors who wish to be appointed as voting scrutineers for either referendum.

Further information on the foregoing may be obtained by contacting Thomas Yates, Chief Election Officer or Edith Watson, Deputy Chief Election Officer at
Regarding BC Ambulance Assertion
Comment by Ashley on 10th September 2018
It is protocol in much of BC for firefighters to show up first to provide first response medical services. It is false information to assert that this is solely within the jurisdiction of the BC ambulance service.

When my grandmother had a brain aneurysm, it was the efficacy of the firefighters who helped save her life. They responded within 3 minutes.

At the time I was surprised to learn that they are usually the first responders on hand at a medical scene. My surprise and perhaps this misunderstanding might stem from the media's portrayal of first responders which usually doesn't reflect the reality that firefighters do more than fight fires or save cats from trees.
Post traumatic stress syndrome or First Responder training?
Comment by Doone Kelly 935 0030 on 7th September 2018
As the partner of a volunteer fire fighter, I see the stress carried when you are the first, or one of the first, on scene and you don't have the training to know what to do whilst waiting for the ambulance crew to arrive. Our volunteer fire fighters deserve to have the training they require to help save lives.
ready to take the hit
Comment by Stephen Reid on 6th September 2018
A working family guy with a mortgage here. ( i.e. not a ton of money to spare) Hit me with the tax I would very much appreciate all residents on Cortes to have the extra medical emergency care. For all that my tax dollars go toward this is among the most critical.
First Responders are essential!
Comment by Becky Knutson on 6th September 2018
I look forward to hearing more about the first responder referendum. As a person who lives in Whaletown, I know that there can be a delay if the paramedics also live in Whaletown. They have to drive to Manson's to get the ambulance then drive to the call. Or the scenario, the ambulance is already on a call and they get another one. The First Responders from the fire department can respond. As a retired RN, I know that having First Responders can make the difference between life and death. Everyone on Cortes would benefit from having First Responders trained to respond to medical emergencies. Yes, there is a cost. Aren't our lives worth it? I'm not sure what one commenter is referring to regarding BC Ambulances inefficiencies. Is she saying that they should be responsible for the training or providing already trained professionals to come from somewhere else? I'm sure we'll hear more next week.
First Responder Tax
Comment by Maureen on 5th September 2018
Dear Chris.
Paying for first aid and other training for volunteer firefighters might sound like a good idea, but local ratepayers cannot afford to fund BC Ambulance’s inefficiencies. This type of mandate creep overburdens volunteers and their burnout drives the entire service over to the government sector - but as we can see with the BC Ambulance service, this means rules that don't meet the needs of rural communities and less service, not more.
And you are right, people will have the opportunity to vote on this on October 20.
More misinformation
Comment by Chris Walker on 5th September 2018
Hello Maureen,
Once again I will attempt to clear up a misunderstanding that you persist in operating under: while you are correct that the fire fighters and the ambulance staff are examples of 'first responders', in the context of volunteer fire fighters 'First Responder' is an additional qualification for certain fire fighters who elect to commit to extra training that certifies them to respond to acute medical calls and provide basic emergency medical services until the arrival of the ambulance. This service does not yet exist on Cortes and it is most unfortunate that you persist in spreading such bold-faced misinformation.

I sympathise with your inability to understand this distinction. I agree that it is confusing but that is the nomenclature the government has chosen to employ. Perhaps we should call it 'Volunteers Fire Fighter Emergency Medical First Responder '. Would that help?

Your assertion that adding first responder (emergency medical) services to the fire department would involve an additional tax is quite true. There is no shame in that. Added services often cost more money. The people of Cortes should and will be given the opportunity to decide if they are willing to pay that extra cost for enhanced emergency medical care. So far in my experience you are the only person to communicate opposition to this proposal and I thank you for participating in the process.

Yours truly,

Chris Walker
President, Cortes Island Fire Fighting Association
First Responders are Top Notch
Comment by Maureen on 5th September 2018
Obviously, first responders already exist on the island, otherwise how is it we have top-notch first responders? See Shaun's article below from February 2018. We must not offload BC Ambulance inefficiencies onto local ratepayers with a new first responder tax.
Comment by Yifan on 4th September 2018
Actually, first responder service absolutely does not exist right now on Cortes Island. I don't know why you keep on repeating this falsehood.

Please don't lump the hall tax and first responder services in the same category, they are unrelated.

BC Ambulance can take up to an hour to respond to a call. The fire department is usually on scene within half an hour at the absolute most. First responder service is about giving the fire department the capability to respond to a medical emergency within the golden hour in order to save your life.
This is about two new taxes
Comment by Maureen on 4th September 2018
Missing from the titles of these two discussion topics is the word TAX. This meeting is about the hall service TAX and the First Responder service TAX. You are being asked about whether you want to pay a tax for these two services, not whether they will exist. They both already exist and would continue to exist in some form, whether people are forced to pay for them or not.