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Fire service expanded on reserve

For the first time, residents of the south side of the Lheidli Tenneh reserve near Shelley will have someone to call in case of emergency.
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Regional District board chair Art Kaehn and Lheidli T'enneh Chief Dominic Frederick sign the fire protection services agreement while (from left) Area F director Kevin Dunphy, regional district administrator Jim Martin and Lheidli T'enneh councillors Shirley Wiltermuth, Louella Nome and Dolleen Logan look on.

For the first time, residents of the south side of the Lheidli Tenneh reserve near Shelley will have someone to call in case of emergency.

On Monday, the First Nation and Regional District of Fraser-Fort George signed an agreement that will see fire protection services provided to the area though the Shell-Glen Volunteer Fire/Rescue.

The five-year contract is a fee-for-service agreement that will cost the band $7,880 per year, which is based on the building values on the reserve lands and applying the 2014 tax rate of $1.67 per $1,000.

The Shell-Glen department will provide protection for structural fires and fires threatening structures on the south side reserve lands, as well as providing emergency medical first responder services. Excluded from the agreement is suppression of forest fires and fire inspections.

"We are excited to see our service area expand to include the Lheidli T'enneh reserve," said Shell-Glen fire chief Randy Kissel, in a press release. "It provides an opportunity to expand our volunteer base to include Lheidli T'enneh members. But most importantly it will reduce the loss and devastation that fire can bring."

Members of the Lheidli T'enneh can also now become volunteers with the Shell-Glen department, which services the Shelley town site and surrounding area.

"Throughout this process, we are striving to co-ordinate our emergency community planning for both north and south side, to look at emergency preparedness, response and capacity building for our community members," Chief Dominic Frederick said in a press release.

Currently there is no fire protection service set up for the north side of the reserve.

"We know how quickly fire can devastate a community and the peace of mind that comes with having a dedicated fire protection service available," said RDFFG board chair Art Kaehn. "We thank the Lheidli T'enneh for working with us to develop this agreement so members of their community can enjoy the same peace of mind in knowing that if needed, help is on its way."

The Lheidli T'enneh band council passed a resolution to connect with the regional district for the service in July 2014.