911 infrastructure upgrades not much of an improvement

I’ve noticed media reports recently regarding the RDOS 911 upgrade and that some of the fire chiefs and directors are unhappy with it.

To the Editor:

I’ve noticed several media reports recently regarding the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen’s fire service radio upgrade and that some of the fire chiefs and directors are unhappy with it.

Osoyoos has even gone so far as to enquire with Surrey Fire Department, for a quote on dispatching for Osoyoos and pulling out of the Kelowna system.

Whether this is possible, remains to be seen but it’s obvious that they are not satisfied with what is transpiring. Summerland is also on record as voting against the changes; they will have to share a radio link under the new plan, whereas they have had their own for the past 10 plus years; that’s an upgrade?

I don’t know how the Penticton directors voted but you would think that they would be  against it, as there will be little to no benefits to Penticton, plus we the taxpayers have to pay 42 per cent of that upgrade bill of 1.6 million dollars (that’s the agreed upon formula).

Few people know how much Penticton actually lost in the initial move to Kelowna dispatch, but it was substantial.  Several fire and city radio channels were dropped and a host of other important services eliminated or contracted out. Yet we in Penticton still pay the same percentage? Something is very wrong.

I clearly recall the question that Director John Vassalaki asked at the RDOS board meeting in July 2011: “Will the extra services that Penticton supplies be supplied by Kelowna?” The answer given by Dale Kroenebusch was: “Anything omitted would be included”.

What kind of a reply is that? In another article the RDOS emergency services supervisor assured the board that Kelowna would provide the same services as Penticton currently does and suggested as an assurance the board should put forward with the contract an expectation of service and benchmarks expected to be met.

This has never been the case as far as most people are concerned and those responsible for our downgrade should be held accountable.

I am reminded  of what Howard Beale said in the Movie “Network” – “We’re mad as H_ll and we’re not going to take this anymore!”

Allan C.L. Stark,  Penticton