Skip to content

Ron French new interim fire chief in North Cowichan

Martin Drakeley retires on Aug. 25
Ron French is North Cowichan’s new interim fire chief. (Submitted photo)

North Cowichan will soon have a new interim fire chief, Ron French, who will replace Martin Drakeley while the municipality looks for a permanent replacement.

Drakeley has accepted the position as the new fire chief in Powell River, and begins his new job on Sept. 5.

French, who is currently the superintendent of fire services with BC Wildfire Service, brings more than 40 years of fire leadership experience to North Cowichan.

He previously served as deputy fire commissioner with the Office of the Fire Commissioner, fire chief with Central Saanich fire department, and deputy fire chief with North Saanich volunteer fire department.

French comes into the interim role at a pivotal time with the North Cowichan fire department.

North Cowichan’s fire department, the largest paid on-call fire department in B.C., has been undergoing significant modernization.

Earlier this year, paid on-call members voted to join the Canadian Union of Public Employees, and contract discussions are underway. French will begin his role on Aug. 25 and will remain the interim fire chief while recruitment for a permanent fire chief takes place, which is expected to begin later this year.

Bylaw services previously reported to Drakeley, and that department will continue to be led by Kim Ferris, North Cowichan’s manager of bylaw and business licensing services.

A review of the organization structure will be considered as part of recruitment for a permanent fire chief.

Drakeley’s last day as North Cowichan’s fire chief is Aug. 25.

He joined the municipality in 2019 as the manager of fire and bylaw services after a 35-year career in fire services, including serving as chief officer in Nanaimo.

“The municipality thanks (Drakeley) for his four years of service and dedication,” North Cowichan said in a statement.

The North Cowichan Fire Department responds to more than 1,250 calls per year and has approximately 100 paid on-call members reporting from four fire halls.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Robert Barron

About the Author: Robert Barron

Since 2016, I've had had the pleasure of working with our dedicated staff and community in the Cowichan Valley.
Read more