A listing of the Gabriola Fire Protection Improvement District Trustee meeting agendas and minutes can now be found on the Trustees page of this site.
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Albert J. Reed was involved with the Gabriola Fire Protection Improvement District for almost 20 years, 18 years as an elected Trustee.
During this time Albert semi-retired from his life long career as an internationally respected electrical engineer, specializing in high voltage and power technologies, and returned to University to earn a master’s degree in fire protection and chemical engineering.
His thesis for that degree was based on ‘Fire Protection on Gabriola’ and was to establish a long term plan for our department to follow.
By following that plan our department was able to develop into an outstanding example of community fire protection, becoming the second volunteer fire department west of Ontario to earn the Superior Tanker Shuttle accreditation. This means we have the equivalent to fire hydrants on every corner, but with the firefighting water delivered to the scene by tankers.
This status saves our residents more money in insurance premiums than they pay in fire protection taxes.
Five (5) years later we re-certified, this time becoming the first volunteer fire department west of Ontario to earn our commercial property owners a similar insurance savings.
Even though these unprecedented accomplishments were directly tied to the guidance he provided, Albert was never one to take the credit. He was truly a big picture guy who always championed the team effort.
Albert certainly was a people person. Throughout his life he constantly encouraged discussions that lead to more diverse points of view, often changing peoples perspectives and attitudes. Whether it was during his career involvement with B.C. Hydro, Ontario Hydro, the National Research Council in Ottawa, the Boy Scouts, his church, our Fire Department, or any of the other causes he donated his life to, he would persevere with his hallmark kindness to ensure the best possible outcomes manifested for every situation he was involved with.
He was sincere in his fondness for people and his belief in humanity, and this was, no doubt, why he was so willing to involve himself in situations others might shy away from.
His dedication to our department and to the firefighters, was well known. Often when a call-out was in progress he would drop by the hall, turning off any car lights or flashers that the firefighters may have left on in their haste to respond. Just another small example of his caring and helpfulness.
Today’s re-dedication of this hall is with the hope of keeping Albert’s humanitarianism alive in our consciousness, to encourage others to see life with his “glass half full” perspective, and to be reminded of his boundless optimism – not just within the Fire Department but throughout his life. On behalf of the firefighters, trustees, as well as everyone who knew and loved him, I am truly honoured to rename this building the Albert J. Reed Memorial Firehall.
I think it was the spring of 1995 when I first met Albert.
He walked into the office at the old hall and we introduced ourselves.
Here was this cheerful man with a totally open demeanor and big, very genuine smile.
I liked him immediately.
Albert explained how he and his wife Gail were having a log house built on Broadview.
We discussed the state of fire protection on Gabriola including the criteria for becoming a volunteer.
He told me he was semi-retired as an electrical engineer, and they wouldn’t be full time on the island for a few years yet.
We spent about a half hour talking over various aspects of island life, and when he left, I really felt like I made a new friend.
And I had.
Some time after that, Albert came to the hall and told me that he had enrolled at UBC, intending to earn another degree in the somewhat related field of fire protection engineering.
He asked if it would be OK if he did his thesis on the subject of fire protection on Gabriola.
I was somewhat stunned, but elated, and offered the fire department’s help.
What an opportunity for the community, I thought.
Hiring a company to complete such a study would have cost tens of thousands of dollars, and here Albert was offering it for free!
During the time he was earning his degree, he submitted his name and was elected to his first term as a trustee for the Gabriola Fire Protection Improvement District, which is the board of trustees that has oversite responsibility for the fire department.
This is a position he held for more than 18 years.
When completed, his thesis became the basis of the long term plan for fire protection on the island.
Many of the improvements that came about, such as replacing the aging firehall, were identified in his study.
By following that plan, our department evolved to the point where in 2007 we were confident enough to challenge the insurance underwriters’ testing procedures.
We were successful, and earned the Superior Shuttle Tanker Accreditation, which involves delivering firefighting water using tanker trucks, instead of pipes in the ground and fire hydrants like cities do.
We were the second volunteer fire department in western Canada to earn this fire insurance rating. The residential insurance savings more than cancelled out the cost of the fire department taxes.
Five years later, we recertified, and were the first volunteer department In western Canada to earn most of our commercial properties owners a similar savings on their insurance premiums.
Our firefighters’ ability to succeed at these accomplishments were made possible to an enormous degree, by Albert’s contributions.
During the early years of his fire protection engineering career, there was an expolsion of marijuana grow-op fires in BC.
Albert was called upon to investigate the cause in many notable cases.
A common factor that he discovered in many of these fires was improper electrical installations, specifically operating too many grow lights on improperly fused circuits.
When the system was wired correctly the fuse would blow, and it wasn’t a problem.
If incorrectly wired, power might arc and start a fire.
Albert thought we should make this common knowledge in the community, via our island’s excellent rumour mill, in hopes of averting any future fires here.
We have had very few grow-op fires over the years, so I like to think Gabriola’s clandestine grow operations took this advice and were safely constructed.
Physically, Albert was not a big man, a fact that never seemed to cause him the slightest bit of consternation.
He would be the first to tell stories and make light of his size.
He liked to claim I wouldn’t let him join as a firefighter because he was too small.
The truth is he never even applied, but that didn’t stop him from telling that story to irk me.
Practical jokes were a special enjoyment of Albert’s, but he never played mean jokes.
Albert was an exceptionally kind and patient man.
It never failed to amaze me how he maintained his dignity in all kinds of extremely trying situations.
I would sometimes ask myself “what would Albert do?” when I was in a situation where my preferred course of action might have involved strangulation.
His dedication to the firefighters was almost legendary.
Whenever Albert was driving and saw the fire trucks were out on a call, he would stop by the hall and make sure all the firefighters’ vehicles had the lights shut off, as in the past, people quickly responding to a callout had returned to find problems like dead batteries.
He always thought of others.
Albert may have been a small man, but to me — he was one of the biggest people I have ever met in my life.
His kindness, his generosity, his dedication and support of good causes in his communities- and he did operate in many communities, both professionally and privately, these are things I will always remember Albert for.
With the intention of keeping the memory of Albert’s community spirit alive, on behalf of our trustees and firefighters, it is my honour to announce that we will be renaming No. 1 Firehall the Albert J Reed Memorial Firehall.
Albert Reed served for many years as a trustee for the Gabriola Fire Protection District. His contributions to the Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department have been extraordinary, and we miss him very much. We asked Albert’s family to allow us to print his obituary. This is what they submitted.
Gabriola Fire Protection District
Annual General Meeting
April 22, 2015
The Annual General Meeting of the Gabriola Fire Protection District was held on April 22, 2015 at the No. 1 Fire Hall with six Trustees, absent was Albert Reed. The Fire Chief, Corporate Officer, and Auditor were also present along with 16 members of the public. The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Chairman, Mark Noyon.
Minutes of the April 16, 2014, AGM were presented. The Chair asked for any errors or omissions, Moved by Paul Champion that the minutes be accepted as presented, seconded by Oscar Reeves, carried.
The Financial Statement was presented by Doug Parkhurst from KMA Chartered Accountants Ltd, who explained the report was different this year as the GFPID had made the transition to the Public Sector Accounting Practice Standard. He gave a brief explanation as to why the transition and what these changes were.
Doug Parkhurst gave a page to page description of the differences from last year’s Financial Statement, then asked for questions.
Herb Rudischer moved that the Financial Statement be accepted as presented, seconded by Kyle Clifford, carried.
Fire Chief’s report
(As per written report)
Training Officer’s Report
(As per written report)
Captain Jethro Baker and Captain Will Sprogis presented the Training Officer’s report.
Captain’s Report – Number 1 Hall
(Presented by Jethro Baker)
Captain Baker gave an explanation of training practices, scheduling, and record keeping. He noted that the No. 1 Hall had 18 active members with 3 probationary firefighters, and that everyone was doing very well.
Captain’s Report – Number 2 Hall
(Presented by Captain Dimitri Tzotzos)
Captain Tzotzos explained that he had just been promoted to this position when Rick Fleming stepped down after 8 years of service. He thanked Rick for his time and energy and noted that everyone was very happy he would be remaining on as a Firefighter and First Responder.
He also thanked Walter Berry and Kyle Clifford for their efforts in being the driving forces behind keeping the Hall clean and recent upgrades.
He noted that the No. 2 Hall had 10 members, 4 of which were probationary members, but that 3 new people were going to be joining and this was the most members at the South Hall that he could remember.
Chairman Mark Noyon noted that the Trustees have one big dinner a year, and that their usual honourarium is $0.00.
Moved by Sam McGee that the Trustees honourarium remain the same, seconded by Inge McGee, carried.
Election of Trustees
The Chairman thanked outgoing Trustee Jeremy Baker for his efforts and time, and noted that three Trustee positions were available, two for 3 year terms and one for 1 term. As the Chairman was one of the positions that was up for election, Trustee John Hudson stood in as Chair.
John Hudson asked for nominations from the floor.
Inge McGee nominated Sam McGee, seconded by Fred Withey.
Isabelle Caron nominated Wilf Caron, seconded by Syreeta Caron.
Paula Mallinson nominated Sandra Rudischer, seconded by Veronica Hartman.
John Hudson nominated Mark Noyon, seconded by Oscar Reeves.
The Chair asked 3 more times for nominations from the floor, non forthcoming, ballots were handed out and collected by Scrutineers Veronica Hartman and Kyle Clifford, they retired into the back room and counted the ballots.
Mark Noyon and Sandra Rudischer were elected, while there was a tie between Sam McGee and Wilf Caron. Once again ballots were distributed and counted. Wilf Caron was appointed as the new Trustee.
Herb Rudischer moved that the meeting be adjourned, seconded by Will Sprogis, carried. Meeting adjourned at 7:45 p.m.