CHETWYND -- A petition calling for more consultation on the relocation of the North Initial Attack Crew has been started in Chetwynd.

Earlier this month, in a letter addressed to Chetwynd Mayor Allen Courtoreille and city council, Bruce Ralston confirmed the closure of the facility and its staff lodging on December 15th, 2023.

Ralston citied the absence of a full-time staff and aging infrastructure resulted in the closure, with crews being relocated to the Dawson Creek Fire Centre.

“We didn’t have proper consultation at all,” said Rebecca Hallaert, a small business owner who has the petition posted in her store Inner Sage Therapies.

Hallaert says her petition is one of many posted around the distrcit, and has already garnered over 100 signatures.

“There should be proper consultation when things like this happen on this scope with the fire season,” said Hallaert.

According to Hallaert, the petitions circulating around Chetwynd will be collected and sent to the provincial government.

“I think sometimes the provincial government bodies kind of forget about the people and the communities,” said Hallaert.

According to the Forest Minister, the intention of the province is to replace the current Chetwynd facility with a forward attack facility.

“When crews are not located at the Chetwynd forward attack base, travel by helicopter would be 20-30 minutes from the crew’s assembly point in the Dawson Creek Fire Zone,” said Ralston.

MLA Mike Bernier, who has advocated for the reversal of the relocation, told CJDC-TV that he met with the minister and Ralston made it clear that he won’t be changing his mind.

Bernier says he will continue to challenge the minister’s decision.

“The community wants to push back, and so we will,” said Bernier.