Pinantan says no to fire service

Pinantan's fire truck still doesn't have a home.

Pinantan’s fire truck still doesn’t have a home.

PINANTAN — The newest attempt to establish a fire service in Pinantan failed as the noon deadline for the return of petitions passed on Tuesday.

The reason it failed? Well, the obvious one is that the numbers didn’t add up — 142 petitions were returned, but 218 were needed for approval.

Petitions were distributed several weeks ago to the 436 properties in the proposed Pinantan/ East Paul Lake fire protection service area. If enough had been signed in favour, up to $470,000 could have been borrowed to get the service up and running.

By the time the June 30 deadline arrived, it was becoming apparent the effort would fail because, after an initial spurt, petitions were slow coming in.

I worry that some residents may simply have felt they didn’t know enough about the proposal, despite three public meetings and the efforts of the proponent committee and the Pinantan-East Paul Lake Fire Department Association to get the word out.

The members of those groups must be disappointed, especially within the fire department association, because they worked hard for years to bring it to this point. When the Pinantan store burned to the ground a little more than a year ago, there was renewed interest but, in the end, concerns about higher taxes no doubt played a part.

Still, it was the community’s democratic decision to make.

Will it ever come back for another try? We’ll get together with the fire department association in the next while to review, but the community probably needs a rest from it for now. Getting fire service established isn’t easy. Residents in Seventy Mile House have just approved one, but that came via a referendum after a petition process similar to the one in Pinantan failed last year.

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