Dispatch service needed

Summerland may lose more service with the latest vote at the RDOS to upgrade the fire dispatch radio system.

Dear Editor:

It saddens me to see that Summerland may lose more service with the latest vote at the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen to upgrade the fire dispatch radio system.

I am in favour of upgrades but not when service will be reduced and Summerland will pay more than their fare share of the upgrades.

For years now, Summerland has had their own link to dispatch. Now with these so-called upgrades, they will lose that and have to share with four other departments? (Naramata, Kaleden, Okanagan Falls and the Penticton Indian Band.)

I know that the upgrades are costly, so was the move of dispatch to Kelowna and now that is becoming more and more evident every day.

Cutting costs (by forcing departments to share links) is a downgrade and should not be allowed.

Keeping the present dedicated Internet line to Summerland would be better than building another link on Okanagan Mountain (another possible point of failure,) even though Telus lines directly to Summerland would still be better.

Presently the signal goes from Kelowna to Penticton and back to Summerland; totally unnecessary and poorly thought out.

Penticton lost five radio channels when Kelowna took over; few people know that, plus many other services.

Perhaps Summerland should look to Surrey for an alternative, as Osoyoos is presently contemplating.

What is being proposed by the RDOS is a poor upgrade. It would be better to leave things as they are for now, until they can afford to do things properly rather than do the job halfway.

Radio linking is no longer the preferred method for the RCMP and EHS and the fire service needs to investigate how other professional services are doing things and learn from them.

One RDOS director stated: “someone sure didn’t do their homework.” Sad but so true.

Allan C.L. Stark

Penticton