Up to $2 million is needed to address problems associated with the 911 radio system in the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.
RDOS chairman Dan Ashton says the radio system is being reviewed as part of the 2013 budget deliberations now getting underway.
Ashton repeated his previous assertion that upgrades to the 911 communications system have been needed for a long time.
"This has nothing to do with the transfer (of fire dispatch service) from Penticton to Kelowna. This is an existing issue that has been outstanding for years now," Ashton said. "These were existing issues in hardware that have up to a 20-year life in them."
Mory Kapustianyk of Planetworks Consulting Corp. recently told the regional district's protective services committee that two scenarios, ranging in cost from $1.5 million to $2 million, are required to upgrade the system.
It's hoped the new system will also address gaps in the coverage area of the existing radio system. The improvements would include new radio towers for certain areas and other equipment upgrades.
The Penticton and Summerland fire departments have their own dedicated lines with the 911 dispatch centre in Kelowna, so they have not been at risk.
Mark Pendergraft, RDOS director for Area A (Osoyoos rural), said coverage in the rural areas, Anarchist Mountain in particular, is a concern. Similar problems have been reported in the Princeton area. "There are a few dead spots up there, so there may be a need for another repeater," he said.
However, Pendergraft said there have been no incidents to date, where a lack of radio coverage has resulted in major problems during an emergency call.