North Westside official won’t comment on fire hall conflict

Director Jim Edgson says Wayne Carson's recent leave of absence is a "personal matter" and won't comment on the details.

A North Westside official insists he is not getting in the middle of a conflict at the fire hall.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan has hired an interim fire chief because longtime chief Wayne Carson is on leave.

“How this came about is between Wayne Carson and regional district management and it’s a personnel matter,” said director Jim Edgson, adding that elected officials do not get involved in staffing issues.

RDCO has stated Carson requested a leave of absence while Carson has stated that’s not the case. No reasons for the leave have been provided.

Carson, who has been chief for 19 years, was suspended by the regional district for three days in June.

The details for the suspension have also never been made public.

Carson believes he will return as chief but he is not sure when that may occur.

Doug Gardiner, a retired assistant chief with Saanich for 27 years, has been named North Westside’s interim chief.

“I am very happy an experienced person is coming in at this difficult time,” said Edgson.

“My only concern is always the safety of the community and that this fire department continues to do an excellent job.”

When asked if the situation with Carson can be resolved, Edgson said, “Both the regional district and I hope for that.”

Kelowna Capital News