Amalgamating the Parksville and Qualicum Beach fire departments will not happen anytime soon.
A comprehensive review was conducted by consultant Behr Integrated Solutions, to look at the possibility of merging both fire departments. It was completed in December.
A report was presented to both City of Parksville and Town of Qualicum Beach councils that highlights the assessment of each fire department’s operations and administration, as well as the identification of governance structure options for possible joint operations.
Several options in the review were considered by both councils at meetings held on April 7 but it was decided that the status quo remains, with each city operating its own individual fire departments.
Qualicum Beach will fill the vacant fire chief position and finalize the structure in the Qualicum Beach Fire Rescue Department. Once the position is filled, the fire chief secondment agreement between Parksville and Qualicum Beach will come to an end.
Fire Chief Marc Norris will return to full duty in Parksville. He has been serving as fire chief for both departments since June 2019.
As directed by the both councils, the two fire chiefs will assess elements of the review specific to their respective departments and make recommendations to each council for implementation.
In the future, the two fire chiefs will work together to identify and communicate to their respective councils, opportunities for shared implementation of elements of the services review. They will continue to foster and grow the close working relationship already in place between the two departments.
“We look forward to building on the collaboration between our two organizations to benefit the fire departments and our communities,” said Parksville and Qualicum Beach mayors Ed Mayne and Brian Wiese in a joint statement.
“Both the Town of Qualicum Beach and the City of Parksville are fortunate to have a working relationship which supports this innovative arrangement. We thank chief Norris for his dedication, demonstrated leadership and excellence in service to our residents. We also thank the members of both departments for their ongoing support and commitment as we examined this opportunity.”
The Parksville and Qualicum Beach Joint Fire Service Review may be viewed at
— NEWS Staff, submitted