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Fire chief defends crew member wages

POWELL RIVER, B.C. – The City of Powell River has released the numbers on how much its employees earned in 2017.

One of the statistics that stood out revolved around the Powell River Fire Department.

READ MORE: City payroll tops $12.5 million in 2017.

12 firefighters earned at least $100,000, including Chief Terry Peters, who earned $178,808, according to the data released.

Peters spoke with the newsroom on Tuesday afternoon to explain that figure.

“What I would like to point out is that in 2017, the wages of the career firefighters included three years of retro-payments that was owed to them, and this included myself,” he said.

“We’re also being compared to a 35-hour work week, when in fact our 24-hour service produces 42-hour work weeks, meaning that our staff actually works 20 per cent more than the average.”

Peters stated that crew members also get paid for emergency call outs and specialty training.

“At the end of the day, you have some of the best trained firefighters in the province working under fairly-negotiated contracts and this is no different than any other similar IAFF (International Association of Fire Fighters) career and composite department in the province of B.C.”

The IAFF is a labour union that represents professional firefighters and emergency medical services personnel in Canada and the United States.

He stated that any residents with questions or concerns could contact the department.

“If anybody has any concerns about the department in general or even wants to talk about our wages, my door is always open,” he said.

“I certainly encourage people to give me a call or come to the fire hall and I will sit down and chat with anybody about the concerns they have with the department in the positive, or any other related items they want to talk about.”

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