Walkerton Fire Department gets milestone year off to good start

·2 min read

BROCKTON – When council passed the bylaw to “establish and regulate Walkerton Fire Department” at its March 23 meeting, they weren’t just updating the bylaw passed in 2015 – they were repeating a procedure first done 150 years ago.

Coun. James Lang, a firefighter with deep family roots in the profession, noted at the meeting that the department is celebrating two milestones this year – the 150th anniversary of the signing of the bylaw to form a fire department in November, and the 125th anniversary of the forming of the first Walkerton Fire Department in May.

Lang said in reference to the item passed at the March 23 meeting, “It’s the same bylaw.”

It was only one of the “good news items” involving the local fire department discussed at the meeting.

A report prepared by Chief Chris Wells outlined the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Bruce Power Fire Training Facility and the Brockton Regional Training Centre (BRTC).

This will mean access to a state-of-the-art facility for live fire training components of courses. The MOU furthers the BRTC’s goal of providing Bruce County and area fire departments with “affordable, attainable and accessible training.”

“This is very good news,” said Mayor Chris Peabody.

Coun. Tim Elphick said, “As a councillor, I want to say how proud I was to read this report – it’s commendable – exactly the direction we should be going.”

“This is really exciting,” said Lang, “to see this project come to fruition.” He added, “A lot has happened since this project started… I commend Chief Wells for staying on course with this.”

The report included setting out fees for the various courses to ensure costs will be covered. Also noted in the report was a meeting held with members of the executive from the Grey County regional training centre “with a focus on how we can work together to share resources (and) staff, get adjunct instructors qualified and offer a broad range of courses for the area departments.”

The plan is to “progress through 2021 with a soft start approach” offering certain courses, based on area needs and capability of instructors to begin training to teach courses on their own. Three of the four courses offered this year are online, taking into consideration COVID-19 protocols. The fourth course has practical components.

The year-end report for 2020 was also presented to council at the March 23 meeting. The Brockton department responded to 98 calls for service in 2020. Less than a quarter of the calls were for fires. Just over a quarter of the calls were for motor-vehicle collisions.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times