The RMOW council has approved the addition of full-time firefighters to Whistler’s Spring Creek Fire Hall, also known as Fire Hall 3.
During the regular Tuesday evening council meeting, RMOW Council approved the funding for adding two career firefighters on a seven-day-a-week basis during daytime hours. The new staff are expected to be in place by spring.
The staffing adjustment will cost up to $555,000, out of the General Operating Reserve, and will be reviewed at the end of the year, with plans to consider expansion to 24-hour coverage by 2026.
Adding full-time firefighters in Spring Creek will improve emergency response activities throughout the community, RMOW said in a press release. The move will also have a significant, positive impact on the community Fire Underwriters Service ratings for the community, with consequent reductions in collective insurance premiums beginning in 2026.
The new service is necessary due to significant recent, ongoing, and forecasted growth in the community’s south end. Increased call volumes and response readiness in the community’s south end are also growing faster than the rest of the community, including motor vehicle, medical, wildland/brush, and structure fire.
The phased integration of full-time, career-based firefighters at the Spring Creek Fire Hall will also improve the community’s wildfire defence posture, which is especially important in wildfire response scenarios. The recent Wildfire Defense Plan highlights the wildfire protection benefits of increased full-time staffing beyond the main Village fire hall.
Whistler’s population has grown by more than 20 percent since 2015, and the community’s population equivalent, which includes second homeowners, seasonal staff, commuters, and day visitors, has also grown to an estimated annualized average daily population of over 42,000 in 2023.