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Penticton  

New fire training grounds proposed in Kaleden

New life for old dump site

The Kaleden Volunteer Fire Department may soon have its very own training grounds. 

On Thursday, the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen board will discuss a proposal to rezone a property at the east end of Dogwood Avenue in Kaleden to create a formal training grounds for the volunteer fire department.

The property was used as a community dump site in the 60s and 70s and was gifted to the RDOS by the Kaleden Irrigation District in 2017 for the purpose of fire training. 

The site has been used informally for training for decades, but the full legalization of the site will allow the department to train meet new provincial standards, particularly around responding to structure fires.

Someone has already donated a mobile home for volunteers to practice with.

“The vision, if you can call it the five-year plan, is to have simulated structure fires — not actually light them but use a smoke machine inside a trailer — to practice,” said Kaleden fire chief Denis Gaudry. “We hope to set up an auto extrication site, where we can do the jaws of life type thing.”

Eventually a car fire simulation area would be added, he said. 

The majority of live fire training would continue to take place in Penticton at PFD’s training centre, he noted. 

Historically, Gaudry said the community of Kaleden has been very accommodating about allowing fire training on private property. But as the neighbourhood has grown, with fences going up around new vineyards and homes, the need for a dedicated site has arose.

The Agricultural Land Commission rejected a request by the RDOS to have the property removed from the ALR in October, but granted approval for the site to operate as a training grounds.

“We are super fortunate that the Kaleden Irrigation District basically donated the property. We think it’s a good use, as has happened for it over the years,” Gaudry said. “We look forward to being able to put our sign up and say that it is ours and get to training.”

The RDOS board will discuss giving the proposal first and second reading on Thursday, in advance of a public hearing tentatively scheduled for January 9.



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