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Barrie Fire Chief Bill Boyes returning to his roots in Brampton

By Ian McInroy, Barrie Examiner

Barrie Fire Chief Bill Boyes is heading back to Brampton where he started his career and will be overseeing more than 500 staff and 13 fire stations. 
Mark Wanzel/Barrie Examiner/Postmedia Network

Barrie Fire Chief Bill Boyes is heading back to Brampton where he started his career and will be overseeing more than 500 staff and 13 fire stations. Mark Wanzel/Barrie Examiner/Postmedia Network

The search is on to replace Barrie Fire Chief Bill Boyes.

The head of Barrie Fire and Emergency Service (BFES) came to Barrie in November 2014 as deputy chief of operations and training from a deputy chief position with the City of Brampton.

He took over the position of chief in Barrie on Jan. 1, 2016 from former chief John Lynn, who was appointed to fire chief in May 2007.

Now Boyes is headed home to be chief of the fire service in Canada’s ninth largest city, overseeing more than 500 staff and 13 fire stations.

“I’ve said to all my staff that I never wanted to leave Barrie. I think so highly of the city and the people,” he said. “This is another opportunity (in Brampton) with a big, growing department. It is also close to my home and where I started my career as well.”

Boyes began his firefighting career there in 2004 and quickly moved up the ranks to captain and eventually deputy chief.

“Internally, you have your promotion processes where you spend a certain number of years in a position and you do practical and written testing and you can work your way up to captain,” he said.

“And then when you move beyond that into administrative roles, such as chief and deputy chief. You go through a competitive job process with interviews, probably not unlike most executive and management positions.”

On the administrative side of things, it’s like running a public sector organization, he added.

“There are a lot of business principles you need to use. You’re in charge of budgets. You’re doing business plans to build new fire halls or buy new fire trucks,” Boyes said. “They are expensive ventures. A new fire truck can be $750,000 and a new station can be a multi-million dollar venture.”

The chief said it’s also important to have the understanding of the service he or she is leading.

“I tried to instill a focus on public education and prevention across our department for all the positions and reduce the risk in the community,” he said.

Boyes said he is proud of a few things that happened on his watch as chief.

“One of them is the new temporary training facility down on Saunders Road, so we can actually do live fire training in the city which hasn’t happened in years,” he said.

“We were the first department in Ontario to (dispense) naloxone and we know there is a major Fentanyl crisis across Ontario, Canada and North America,” Boyes said. “On Feb. 1 we put that in place and so many departments have followed that.”

BFES has been doing a lot of planning for the future, he added.

“The city of Barrie is growing so much and we’ve been working to get involved with the first responders campus,” Boyes said. “Our dispatch centre will be there and we’re working to put our permanent training facility there.

“We’re planning to build a Station No. 6 in the south part of the city in the Prince William Way/Mapleview Drive East area,” he added. “That’s hopefully going to come on line here in late 2019. It’s very much an exercise in timing so that we meet the growth demands and we’re not in there too early and not there too late.

“It’s a lot of projecting and planning and having contingency plans. I feel like we’re on the right track.”

Barrie’s fire department has three deputy chiefs: Cory Mainprize (training and operations), Jeff Weber (fire prevention and emergency planning manager) and Sue Dawson (communication and business services).

Anne Marie Langlois, the city’s director of human resources, said Boyes provided his notice last week.

The process to replace him may include written submissions, testing, assessments and presentations as well as the potential for a second interview.

Then a recommendation is made to council in the form of a staff report.

imcinroy@postmedia.com



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