Print subscribers please click here to create your digital access account
The three new members of the Evergreen Fire/Rescue board of directors plus the new board president vow to bring more transparency to the board and the department, provide more avenues of communication with constituents and firefighters and improve the department’s culture.
This item is available in full to subscribers.
If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.
Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.
If you made a voluntary contribution in 2021-2022, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.
Inter-Canyon Fire Protection District just may get a new Station 3.
District officials asked architects to downsize the structure they planned to build on U.S. 285 so it would stay within the district’s $5 million budget. The new building, which officials hope to have completed by February 2024, will be closer to 6,000 square feet rather than the 9,000 originally planned.
In 2019, the fire district expected to use the $5 million to replace two fire stations, but bids came in at more than twice what officials expected thanks to increasing construction and materials costs. Fire Chief Skip Shirlaw had said the district would put fire station construction on the back burner, but he said the redesigned Station 3 is workable.
The new building will have four truck bays rather than six, plus offices will be smaller. Plans call for four crew quarters, training rooms and more.
Shirlaw said Inter-Canyon would apply for a grant from the Department of Local Affairs, and that grant was anticipated to be $1 million and now is closer to $600,000.
Julie Ann Courim, Stacey Ballinger and John Putt were elected to the board by a large margin earlier this month. On May 10, they joined Chuck Ridings and John Porter, who are in the middle of their first terms on the board, at a board meeting.
Ridings was elected board president by a 4-1 vote with Porter dissenting.
“I for the last two years have been … trying to understand the lack of transparency that has been shown by the board,” Ridings said. “I’m going to open up that transparency a great deal. … There will be transparency 100% of the time. I truly want people to come forward and not lurk in the background.”
The transparency showed as he allowed members of the public who attended the meeting to address the board and ask questions as topics were brought up in addition to during official public comment.
“My main concern is to get our volunteers back to where they were with the power and control they had in the past and with the training they wish to have," Ridings said. "Volunteers are the core and heart of the department and not going to be taken for granted. They should be given No. 1 priority.”
Ridings said he was looking at the next year as a clean slate, saying he would work hard on trusting the EFR administration more after spending his first two years on the board not trusting the current administration.
Porter proposed adding three committees that would be overseen by the board:
Board members said they liked the three ideas but wanted to discuss them further before creating the committees. In response to a question from the audience, they agreed that community members might get involved.
Courim, who in the past served on the Foothills Fire Department board of directors and whose husband was a Foothills firefighter, told the board and the audience that she respected differing opinions and will listen with an open and interested mind. She hoped those who come to the board with concerns will also propose solutions.
Putt said the district was responsible for both top-notch fire response but also preparedness and prevention. He noted that Evergreen has the best firefighting force, and he was looking forward to working with the administration and firefighters.
Ballinger, who was a dispatcher for Evergreen Fire/Rescue before the department joined Jeffcom, said her plan was to learn and listen as much as she could.
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.