There’s a new chief in town.
After 12 years with Sun Peaks Fire Rescue (SPFR), Dean Schiavon is taking on the role of fire chief. He succeeds Colin Cannon, who retires from the position on Dec. 1.
Schiavon first joined the volunteer fire department in 2007, after moving to Sun Peaks to work for Sun Peaks Resort LLP (SPR) in information technology.
“I knew the fire chief at that time quite well from working with him at SPR and he was constantly prodding me to join,” he said. “I signed up and started training, which led to me becoming a volunteer lieutenant back in 2014, and then I started working full-time as fire prevention officer in 2015.
“The thing that I’m most excited for [as chief] is developing a strategic plan for the department, and get some direction as to where we should be directing our resources,” he said. “The community is growing at a rapid pace and we have to ensure the department is growing to meet its demands.”
Schiavon said this is key as the community grows.
“The department really hasn’t changed in size since I started…the community has been growing a lot faster than we have been. We had more calls in September than we’ve ever had by that time in previous years.
“My goal is to reach out to longer-term community members, to encourage involvement with the department, and to have options for them other than being an emergency responder,” Schiavon added.
By incorporating other types of members that can help out other ways around the hall or assist with community outreach and Fire Smart initiatives, as alternatives to emergency response, Schiavon said he believes the department may have a better chance at growing its membership.
Martin McQuade, who has been deputy chief with the SilverStar Fire Department for three years, will take over as fire prevention officer with SPFR.
“We’ve done a bit of work with him already,” Schiavon said. “He was at the fire training centre in Vernon as our fire technician when we were doing our [annual] training in the burn building.
“Bringing on Martin gives us a different, outside, perspective that we wouldn’t have had from an internal applicant. And [he] is from a ski hill, so he does have that experience of working in a ski resort. It’s not totally unfamiliar territory for him,” he added.
In fact, Sun Peaks is quite familiar territory for McQuade, who’s looking forward to settling in the community.
“I’ve skied up there quite a few times. My wife and I used to go up there once a year,” he said.
McQuade started with SPFR on Nov. 26, when he spent a week transitioning into the role with Schiavon.
“I’m hoping I can take advantage of Dean’s knowledge before he gets busy being the new head fellow as fire chief,” he said.
Schiavon is excited for the new changes to the department.
“I see this as a big opportunity to grow SPFR and our role within the community,” he said. “We are a very young department so lots of training going on for everyone and lots of room for growth. It’s an exciting time for the department.”