Community crisis averted as Victoria Beach firefighters cancel resignation vote

File photo of a Victoria Beach fire truck. Joe Scarpelli/Global News

Firefighters from the Rural Municipality of Victoria Beach will not be walking off the job, the department told council on Tuesday.

Community leaders, many of whom are cottagers who own property in the RM but live and work in the city, held a meeting in Winnipeg to discuss the serious situation. Council members and concerned citizens packed the room at the Viscount Gort Hotel.

The entire fire department threatened to quit after their chief, Brad Patzer, was fired last month. According to the rural municipality, Patzer was let go  for his “ongoing refusal to communicate and cooperate with the RM.”

READ MORE: Victoria Beach residents hold rally to support former fire chief amid fear firefighters may quit

Firefighters were to hold a resignation vote Wendesday night.

Deputy fire chief Wolf Kraft said council is not working with his crew to resolve the issue, but they decided staying on the job during the dry, high risk conditions, is in the best interest of the community.

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“Lashing out at council by resigning the department really doesn’t hurt them,” he said. “It really doesn’t do anything other than hurt our community.”

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Victoria Beach Reeve Brian Hodgson said there is still tension between council and the firefighters, but said he’s happy with the decision the firefighters made.

“Our hope was that they would retain their services down there and now this has come true and we’re just elated that’s happening.”

Hodgson said he cannot comment on the firing of the chief, until council discusses the next steps in-camera and seeks advice from a lawyer.

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