Retired firefighter Tim Baillie is running for a seat on Langley Township council this fall, and issues around firefighting and public safety are at the top of his agenda.
“I had never really considered running for municipal council before,” said Baillie, who was a fire captain with Surrey’s fire department.
But he said several issues, including fire department staffing, homelessness, and youth sports, convinced him to throw his hat in the ring.
The fire department is “undoubtedly” a major issue, Baillie said.
“It’s public safety in general,” he said.
Baillie, who served on the B.C. Professional Firefighters Association and the B.C. Federation of Labour’s occupational health and safety committee, said the Township needs more firefighters available for emergencies.
“On duty, you only have 18 career firefighters on shift to cover 130 square miles,” Baillie said.
The issue of the number of firefighters on duty has come up earlier this year at Township council, with the firefighters union lobbying for an increase in hiring so that responding trucks can have the full complement of four firefighters available per vehicle. It takes four crew members to safely enter a structure fire, and the Township was seeing a number of trucks dispatched with three crew, because firefighters were absent sick, on vacation or leave, or in training.
Baillie said making sure a second truck can arrive on time is also an essential part of the process, to back up the first crew.
He also wants to see water mains run down more major roads, so less time is used shuttling water to the sites of fires in remote rural areas.
Homelessness is a concern for Baillie, who believes the numbers of people living on the streets will expand when the SkyTrain arrives in Langley in 2028.
A South Langley resident, Baillie, 67, has also spent years coaching youth sports, especially hockey and lacrosse.
The municipal elections are to be held on Oct. 15 this year.
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