Members of the Gold River fire department started an online petition calling on the council to reinstate fired Gold River fire chief Lisa Illes.
The village of Gold River terminated Illes’ contract on Jan. 8. The decision was met with resistance from members of the fire department and the community. In protest, firefighters handed in their resignations and walked out in support of Illes, leaving the village with questionable fire protection.
While members returned back to work at the urging of the former chief, the nature of her termination became controversial after Illes said it was a ‘wrongful termination.’
Gold River’s mayor Brad Unger and council were unable to disclose reasons for firing Illes citing, that it’s a “human resources matter.” However, Unger did say that the village had appointed an interim fire chief and had secured full coverage for fire safety, including support from the Campbell River fire department.
As of Jan. 28, the petition saw 174 signatories.
“The Village of Gold River, has made a grave mistake in the termination of Chief Illes. Her dismissal has brought confusion, mismanagement, unanswered questions, and no clear direction,” said the petition.
“Without the valued leadership of Chief Illes, the members of the department and the citizens of our community will suffer. We seek the reinstatement of Chief Lisa Illes back into her rightful position as the Fire Chief of the Gold River Fire Department,” it says.