In August 2019, the Seton Valley Volunteer Fire Department Chief, in consultation with the SLRD, temporarily closed the fire department, which was necessary until essential protective equipment and operating processes were brought up to a standard for safe fire response and in line with current Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) standards.
The Fire Chief then vacated the position, and unfortunately, the Seton Valley Volunteer Firefighters Society (the Society), who govern the volunteer fire department, have not been able to bring the department back to this standard, and as a result the SLRD has needed to stand down the department indefinitely, after consultation with legal counsel and the BC Office of the Fire Commissioner.
It is important to note that fire services remain in place for Seton Portage residents. An initial temporary service agreement with the Seton Lake Volunteer Fire Department has been extended, and a long-term service agreement is being drafted by the SLRD for consideration by the Tsal’alh Chief and Council, who administer the Seton Lake department.
It is also important to note that fire insurance premiums for Seton Portage may be affected, as the nearest operating fire hall is now the Seton Lake Fire Hall. The SLRD has encouraged the Society to explore amalgamation with the Seton Lake department and Tsal’alh have said that they are willing to enter into these discussions to create one stronger volunteer fire department for the area. Amalgamation into one department under the Seton Lake Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief would allow for the fire hall at Seton Portage to be used as an auxiliary, or sister hall of the fire hall at Seton Lake and would then be able to be listed as the nearest hall for insurance purposes. However, as the fire department assets belong to the Society and the Society is a governing body independent of the SLRD, any such discussions are at the discretion of the Society.
At this time no amalgamation has occurred and the Society has not indicated any timeframe for such an amalgamation to take place.
The SLRD will update residents further on any change to this situation.
For more information:
SLRD Director of Protective Services