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Big White Fire Chief retires from Service but not Community

Sep 27, 2022

Big White Fire Chief retires from Service but not Community
After steering the Big White Fire Department through ten years of change, its Fire Chief Chris Cormack has taken retirement to focus on family. Josh Foster has been appointed as his replacement.

“It has been an incredible privilege and honour to serve here at the Big White Fire Department and to be part of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary. These have been some of the most rewarding and fulfilling years of my life,” says Chris. “I want to take the opportunity to thank Chief Svendsen and all those in the fire service who I have had the privilege of working with, including those who have trained, encouraged and mentored me along the way,” he adds.

The Cormacks have been part of Big White’s community life for the last decade, as it’s doubled in size and transitioned to a two-season resort, but they have no plans to cut their ties with it despite their move to Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island. After Chris drops in to see if his local fire department needs any volunteers, it will be a return to their Big White condo for the Winter season.

When asked what he will miss most about the job, Chris says: “I’ll miss the fire hall family the most: the training, the camaraderie, responding to emergencies and making a difference in people's lives. It goes without saying that I’ll also miss friends, early morning coffee meetings with staff at the Big White Ski Resort and those calls from a Work Experience Program or Paid-On-Call member saying that they’ve received a job offer and are about to make their dream of becoming a career firefighter become a reality.”

Chris’ own firefighting career started in his fifties when he was looking to make a change in his life. He had served as a pastor both in Victoria and on Salt Spring Island for 32 years previously and it was his 10 year’s experience as a volunteer firefighter during that time which secured his position as Deputy Chief at the Big White Fire Department in 2012. He then spent seven years serving as the Deputy Chief of Operations and Training before moving into the role of Fire Chief in 2019.

Despite having to navigate through the COVID pandemic, there have been many highlights under his tenure at the top. These include the overall growth and professionalism of Big White’s firefighters; a Work Experience Program (WEP) which develops well-trained, experienced graduates with an 85% conversion rate to career positions within the fire service across Canada; and receiving and putting into service Big White’s first Aerial Apparatus.

James Chandler, RDKB’s General Manager of Operations and its Deputy CAO says: “Chris has accomplished so much at Big White and has 10 years to be very proud of. It’s been great to work with him. We’re going to miss his friendship and support but will enjoy reuniting on the ski hill when the mountain calls.”

-ends-

Company Contact Information:

Company: The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary
Contact Name: Vivienne Hurley
Contact Phone: 2509216290
Contact Email: [email protected]
Company Website: www.rdkb.com
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