Paramedic memorial wall will stay in Vancouver office

CKNW News September 27 2012

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September 27, 2012 at 4:17 PM

Paramedic memorial wall will stay in Vancouver office

Yesterday it was announced the memorials would be moved to the Victoria office

Dave White Sep 27, 2012 15:42:37 PM
VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) - After tearful reactions yesterday, News1130 has learned a photo memorial wall honouring fallen first responders will be put back up at Vancouver's BC Ambulance office.

It's not clear whether the same will happen in Kamloops and Prince George.

Bronwyn Barter speaks for the paramedics union.
    
"They heard from the paramedics of BC and they heard their appeals and their passionate letters that they sent," she says. "They listened and they are revisiting their decision."

She doesn't believe management made the move maliciously, but says it's unfortunate it had to come to a fight.
    
BC Ambulance says the move was to try and help all of its staff move forward after tragedy.

News1130 has obtained a memo from BC Ambulance that outlines the change of heart.

"It doesn't have any details with regards to Kamloops and Prince George but I have reached out to Les Fisher and asked him to make sure those memorials stay where they are or go back up," Barter points out.

Fisher is the Chief Operating Officer at BC Ambulance, who told News1130 yesterday the move to remove the memorials was to help all staff move forward from tragedy.

Read the full memo below:

To:All EHSC Staff
Re: Memorial Wall, Vancouver

Since my memo of September 24, and the subsequent decommissioning of the memorial walls, I have heard from a number of staff. Some have been supportive of the move, while a number of others have expressed disappointment. In particular, I received a couple of respectful, articulate, and well-reasoned emails from staff for whom I have a great deal of respect.

While the memorial walls in Prince George and Kamloops were in areas not normally accessed by paramedics, it is clear that the memorial in Vancouver was visible to many staff and provided an opportunity for remembrance and reflection. I clearly underestimated the importance of that to our staff. As your leader, it is incumbent on me to reflect on this decision. As I said in my earlier note, I care deeply for the people in the organization as well as the organization’s past and our future.

In order for us to continue moving forward together, and to be in a strong position as we continue our transition, I do not want this issue to stand in our way. Accordingly, I have asked that the memorial pictures and plaque be included in the remodelling currently underway in the third floor hallway at our Metro office in Vancouver.

A committee is being formed to look though all of the pictures that were previously displayed so we can create an appropriate historical record of BCAS that we can all be proud of. As part of that redesign work, we will incorporate a memorial to our fallen. The location of the revised memorial will be accessible to paramedics and other staff visiting the floor. As part of this compromise approach, I have asked CUPE 873 President Bronwyn Barter to appoint a paramedic representative to sit on the redesign committee to determine where and how our memorial can be incorporated in the new space.

The primary memorial for BCAS will continue to be at our provincial headquarters as a fitting tribute to those we have lost. The memorials at the stations directly involved in our losses will, as previously stated, remain.

I hope that this reconsideration demonstrates that the organization, our managers, and I, respect our history and all of our employees, and that we are ready to move into the future from a solid base together.

Sincerely,
Original signed by:
Les Fisher
Chief Operating Officer


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