Invermere fire chief honoured

Briefs from the District of Invermere council meeting on June 11th


The District of Invermere recognized local Fire Chief Roger Ekman with B.C.’s 35 year Long Service Award at its council meeting on Tuesday, June 11th.

Mr. Ekman has been Invermere’s fire chief for 28 years and with the local fire department for 35 years.

“It’s been a long haul and I don’t intend on quitting any time soon. I’ve still got a lot I want to do. It’s just a fantastic job to have. When you’ve got a good crew behind you it makes all the difference,” said Mr. Ekman.

The district also adopted its revised Short Term Action Chart. Top of the list on the chart is hiring an events co-ordinator.

“Our target is to have this person organize one major event, as well as some minor ones, each month throughout the year,” said Invermere Mayor Gerry Taft, speaking after the meeting. “She or he will support existing events (such as the Light Up Night, Santa Claus parades and Visitor Appreciation Day) but we’re also hoping this person will come with some ideas for new events.”

Invermere council is hoping some of those new events will be in the October-to-November shoulder season, giving visitors a reason to come, said Mr. Taft.

“This is a new realm for us, so we’re trying a one-year contract,” he said. “We were looking at what we could do to try and increase business in Invermere and at the same time offer residents a service.”

The future of the Invermere Housing Corporation also came up for discussion at the meeting when council approved the corporation’s 2012 and 2013 resolutions, with some council members expressing uncertainty around whether the corporation, which was established several years ago, should continue to operate.

“The goal (of the corporation) was to have some attainable housing in Invermere,” said Mr. Taft, adding that not long after the corporation was set up Invermere’s housing market collapsed and housing prices stopped climbing.

“We need to figure out what to do with this thing, whether it continues or whether it dissolves,” said Mr. Taft, adding that the Invermere Family Resource Centre’s mission also increasingly includes affordable housing, so keeping the Invermere Housing Corporation may be duplicating services.

“I think there’s a place for something like this, but I don’t know if the Housing Corporation in its current form is it,” said councillor Spring Hawes.

Councillor Paul Denchuk, whose wife is involved with the corporation, said people involved with it feel they have no direction.

“Many of the directors of the Housing Corporation are frustrated because they don’t know what they should be doing,” said Mr. Denchuk.

Check out this week’s Pioneer, which comes out Friday, for more Invermere council stories, including the Groundswell composting program and the future of the community hall.