North Dundas has a fire chief. Kreg Raistrick was chosen to be the first ever fire chief for North Dundas. He will be looking after all four fire stations in Morewood, Winchester, Mountain and Chesterville. The swearing-in ceremony for the position took place on Thursday afternoon, May 18. Left to right are: North Dundas Coun. John Lennox, Mayor Tony Fraser, fire chief Kreg Raistrick, Coun. Theresa Bergeron, Coun. Gary Annabel, and Coun. Matt Uhrig. Morin Photo

WINCHESTER – North Dundas has a new fire chief who will look after all four North Dundas’ fire stations.

The newly created position goes to fire chief Kreg Raistrick, who was sworn in as the municipality’s first fire chief with a command ceremony on Thurs., May 18.

He will officially begin his duties on June 5.

The ceremony is designed to show a public display of a transfer of power from one group to another, in this case from the municipality to the fire chief position. The position is designed to be a part-time position and it represents a major shift in how the North Dundas Fire Services will be administered. To understand the significance of the creation of the position, you have to go back 25 years when amalgamation was sweeping through Ontario, which up until then were separate municipalities.

North Dundas was then made up of the villages of Winchester, Chesterville, Morewood, and South Mountain in Mountain. They all joined to become one municipality with one council and one administration. The four villages also had their own fire departments manned by volunteers led by station chiefs.

To help coordinate and unite the four fire stations, a fire steering committee was created in the early 2000s. Next came a member of the council who took on the role of fire commissioner and one station chief would take over as a go between the council and the North Dundas Fire Services.

The fire steering committee and fire commissioner will remain in place during the transition period.

It was only a matter of time before increased growth in the North Dundas community created the need to centralize the municipality’s fire services administrative arm with the creation of the fire chief position.

Fire Commissioner and Coun. John Lennox, himself a firefighter said, “Today we are consolidating the four stations under one central command.”

Lennox explained the many hours of deliberations that had to take place before any decision could be made about the winning applicant for the position.

He said, the quality and experience of all the candidates made the final decision difficult.

He explained he felt the decision to have a fire chief position was a step in the right direction for the entire fire service.

Mayor Tony Fraser said, “Today marks the beginning of a new chapter in the North Dundas Fire Services.”

Mayor Fraser said, the municipality has had over the years various fire commissioners and the members of the fire services’ committee that have served North Dundas.

“Under their guidance the North Dundas Fire Services has become one of the most respected and efficient in the region.”

Fraser said Chief Raistrick has served 19 years as a firefighter.

“He is a son and grandson of firefighters,” said Fraser. “With his leadership I am confident our fire services will thrive and grow.”

Raistrick said, “It is truly an honour to be selected as the first chief of North Dundas Fire Services. I am looking forward to serving with a progressive approach to current and future challenges. My family has a deep history with the fire department as I am the third generation to serve our community. At this time, I would like to thank my wife Tracy, our children Kingsley and Makenna for their support and oftentimes patience with my dedication to the fire service. I would also like to acknowledge all members, with special mention to the Steering Committee of North Dundas Fire Services, both past and present, for their unwavering commitment. Without your devotion we could not be the exceptional fire personnel that we are.”

The duties of the fire chief position include overseeing the operation of the North Dundas Fire Services Department including fire prevention, inspection, training, and suppression. This includes planning, coordinating and effectively delivering fire services in accordance with federal, provincial and municipal regulations and legislation as per council’s direction.