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Thursday , 22 October 2020
McArthur Place Lac La Biche
McArthur Place in Lac La Biche.

Hylo residents want Lac La Biche County to give ex-firefighter a second chance

A few members from Hylo went to County Chambers to try and persuade council members to rethink the firing of a county employee, who made a racist comment online back in August.

Elson Walker, was a firefighter for the Hylo Fire Department, who made a comment on a neighbourhood watch Facebook page that spiralled into more  that the County said he violated their social media policy.

Lac La Biche County acted fast and in just over a week they had delivered the news of the firing. However, during the council meeting this past Tuesday some members from Hylo said it was a shame that he was fired and that the comments were not in fact racist.

“What happened to Elson is a blow to everyone in the community,” said Alex Broadbent, who doesn’t feel as safe in Hylo since Walker lost his job.

“We don’t sleep too well, we don’t feel well in Hylo anymore. Every minute counts in an emergency. We are much safer with him here.”

The Hylo Fire Department has five firefighters, along with two cadets and a total of three fire apparatuses at the station. Broadbent mentioned that Walker’s 22 years of experience was a benefit to Hylo.

“With him gone, it leaves us with very little help. He did the best he could in any emergency,” said Broadbent.

Broadbent also said that he believes Walker deserves an apology from the County for firing him, and that he knows who he is as a person and he didn’t deserve the backlash he has gotten.

Council members thanked the Hylo members for their presentation and said there will be no further action at this time.

The County’s communications said there is a possibility this will be a discussion in a future meeting.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connect Media. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.