The Saskatchewan Government Employees’ Union is not giving up on its fight to preserve manned forest fire observation towers.
The union says the government is now in the process of tearing down the observation posts on top of the towers in preparation for new surveillance cameras that will take their place.
The issue was first debated in the Saskatchewan Legislature last spring.
The union maintains the move puts public safety at risk, and notes that no other jurisdiction in Canada relies solely on automated camera surveillance to detect and manage wildfires. It’s calling on the government to hold off on any demolition work, arguing it’s not necessary and could be extremely costly to return to the current human monitoring system if the new camera surveillance system doesn’t prove to be reliable.
The government maintains the cameras are safer, more effective and cost less.
Thirty-eight seasonal workers will lose their jobs as a result of the transition.