Jason Giesbrecht, Port Edward Fire Chief, was recognized for his “exemplary service and distinction” at their council meeting on Tuesday, June 26, 2019. Left to right: Councillors Dan Franzen and Murray Kristoff, Mayor Knut Bjnordal, Jason Giesbrecht, and councillors James Brown and Christine Mackenzie. (Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)

Port Edward council: Fire chief receives honour, city still $1 million in debt for school

Port Edward reviews 2018 Statement of Financial Information (SOFI), fire department at capacity

Jason Giesbrecht, Port Edward Fire Chief, was recognized during Tuesday’s, June 25, council meeting for his “exemplary service and distinction”.

Giesbrecht has acted as the interim fire chief from Feb. – March 2019 after long-time chief Shawn Pettitt left the department. In April, Giesbrecht was made the permanent fire chief.

Giesbrecht has been working with the volunteer fire department since 1998.

At the council meeting he gave an update on his work so far as chief. Most notable, was that the department has reached full capacity for volunteer firefighters, currently processing their 12th application.

“I’m feeling pretty good that we have a wait list. In my six years on council I’ve never seen that,” said Mayor Knut Bjnordal.

Currently, without a mutual aid agreement in place between the District of Port Edward and City of Prince Rupert, the district will not receive help from the city’s professional fire department in the event of an incident.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert fire crews won’t help Port Edward after negotiations fail

READ MORE: Port Edward may cut off water to Watson Island if Prince Rupert does not come to the table

To date, Port Edward’s fire department has responded to 29 calls – up from 11 this time last year. Six calls were regarding fire alarms, none of which involved actual flames, 18 calls were in relation to first response, and five had to do with vehicle incidents.

Giesbrecht is also looking to replace the 25-year-old truck for the department and plans to purchase two new sets of gear this year.

The department will be sending some of their crew to a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) firefighting course and an advanced railcar specialist course put on by CN in Colorado. Giesbrecht said trains carrying LPG hold 10 million litres per train coming through the district which is cause for concern.

Port Edward mayor, Knut Bjnordal (left), presented Jason Giesbrecht, Port Edward Fire Chief (right), with an engraved medal and watch for his “exemplary service and distinction” at their council meeting on Tuesday, June 26, 2019. (Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)

Port Edward 2018 Finances

Debt reported in 2016 totaled $1,099,064, of which $1,094,254 came from loans the district is still paying off for the new Port Edward Community School, according to their Statement of Financial Information (SOFI) report for 2018.

In 2012, the district got approval to borrow up to $2 million for the project during a referendum. The School District 52 (SD52) board entered into a 20-year lease with the District of Port Edward that will end on August 31, 2032, for the new school.

Currently there are 14-15 students enrolled in the school.

The minimum annual payment for the loan is $74,912 meaning it could take a minimum of 14.5 years to pay off the rest of the loan.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert School District and Port Edward enter into new lease agreements for school

READ MORE: Port Edward awards contract for new school construction

The SOFI report also listed each municipal employee making over $75 thousand per year and the salaries of the mayor and councillors.

Chief administrative officer, Bob Payette, continues to make the most in the district with a total of $129,432 for salary and benefits, more than a 10 per cent raise from 2017 in which he made $113,247.

Alistair Duffus, PW foreman, received $106,362 in 2018.

Lorraine Page, director of finance, and Polly Pereira, director of corporate administrative services, are both shy of making $85,000.

Each councillor — with exception of Murray Kristoff who began his term in October — received $9,607. Mayor Bjnordal received $2,740 since taking office and former mayor, Dave MacDonald, had received $13,701 for his 2018 tenure.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert mayor and council salaries increase, while six-figure club grows by one

Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
Jenna Cocullo 
Send Jenna email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

RCMP searching for missing Lax Kw’alaams resident

Public urged to help in search for 42-year-old Lawrence Maitland

Coast Tsimshian sign historic stewardship agreement

Lax Kw’alaams and Metlakatla plan to work as one to preserve traditional lands

Pacific Northern Gas moves to reinstate full capacity and expand pipeline

Increased supply and demand could mean lower rates for North Coast customers, PNG says

Prince Rupert golfers shoot for a cause

Record turnout at Firemen’s Scramble as over 100 people sign up to support Burn Fund charity

Rare grizzly bear sightings near Dodge Cove

Several bears have made their way to Digby Island in the past few weeks

Downtown Prince Rupert gets a much needed tidying up

Positive Prince Rupert turns their attention to the streets for their July clean

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Two brands of ice cream sandwiches recalled due to presence of metal

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a recall on Iceberg and Originale Augustin brands

Most Read