Two White Rock residents are requesting a formal incident investigation into the fire that devastated condos and buildings at Five Corners on May 15.
The aim of such an investigation, Donna Mason and Dorothy Bower told council at Monday’s meeting, would be to “assure White Rock residents of their city’s emergency preparedness.”
Mason, who said she is a “concerned citizen,” and Bower – who owned a condo in the Ocean Ridge complex that was the residence of her son – said that an incident report, with lessons learned, would be a prudent response to the fire.
“This was not a drill or an exercise – this was a real-life event,” Bower told council.
“We need to engage the public while this is fresh in mind,” Mason said.
“This is not to find fault, not to point fingers, not with any agenda, but (to look at) what went right, what went wrong and how could we have been better prepared.”
The delegates also called for an update to the city’s emergency preparedeness plan, bylaws and OCP to address increased density of wooden structures; a risk assessment for multiple fires resulting from an earthquake; a formalization of the emergency water-supply agreement with Surrey and an investigation into why water became discolored and residents lost water supply for several hours as a result of firefighting efforts.
Among shortcomings in communication, they noted, was that, while White Rock’s website has information on how individuals can prepare for emergencies, the city’s overall emergency preparedness plan cannot be accessed.
In response to questions from Coun. Helen Fathers and Coun. Lynne Sinclair, city administrator Dan Bottrill acknowledged that White Rock’s plan is not currently online.
“It could be,” he said, noting the document is a lengthy one.
“A Google search turns up Richmond’s emergency plan,” Mason noted.
Mayor Wayne Baldwin said he hoped any investigation would include the results of the Fire Underwriters Survey of the city.
“In the past we’ve passed that with flying colours – I assume that’s still the case.”
A motion by Fathers to refer the presentation to staff for a report was carried by council.