The residents of Saanich and Oak Bay can rest assured, that, between recent contract renewals and Saanich Council supported resources augmentation, the fire departments in their respective communities are more than ready and equipped to serve.
The firehouses have close ties, proven by the quick mutual response to an apartment fire in Oak Bay in June. The two will undertake combined joint Confined Space training this fall at UVic. The renewal, this week, of the Saanich – Oak Bay Fire Dispatch Contract further enhances their ongoing commitment to work together effectively and expediently.
As a result of city council funding, both Saanich and Oak Bay fire departments have been able to expand their on-duty staff. In Saanich, Station 3 went from four to six staff. After its 2022 recruitment drive, Oak Bay Fire Department has a robust squad of first responders. Oak Bay hired five firefighters last year, including the first woman firefighter in their operating history. They also hired a new Fire Chief Frank MacDonald who served previously as the Deputy Fire Chief with the Saanich District Fire Department.
These recent expansions are beneficial but they also present the fire departments with their own set of growing pains. Both Saanich and Oak Bay FD’s have outgrown their facilities. The new truck, set to arrive soon at Oak Bay, won’t fit into any of the existing in-house bays and will have to be parked in an adjacent parking lot. No. 2 Firehall in Saanich is slotted for a 44.6 million dollar redevelopment overhaul. More staff, new equipment, big changes.
These infrastructure updates and the renewal of the Fire Dispatch Contract cements Saanich and Oak Bay’s mutual commitment to timely and well-resourced fire suppression and response in rapidly growing areas in the Capital Region District (CRD).
- Fire departments, road contractors among those changing with the drier times
- Saanich councillor wants to merge Greater Victoria’s fire departments, going from 13 to 4
Sidney Coles, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Capital Daily