By John Francis
Wilf Barnes, Northern Bruce Peninsula’s Fire Chief and head of Emergency Services, will be retiring on December 31. He has served 21 years with the Department, the last 7 as Chief.
“Chief Barnes’ departure is certainly a loss to the Municipality as he has proudly served our community with professionalism, efficiency, and diligence over the last seven years,” stated Mayor Milt McIver.
Municipal staff are equally sorry to see him leave. “With his gentle manner and positive outlook on life, Chief Barnes was able to assemble a terrific team in his department. He also inspired a broadening of expertise, including a well trained and equipped high-angle rescue team.
“He oversaw vast improvements to the two municipal fire stations. This has enabled significant cost savings by making the facilities more energy efficient as well as safer and more accommodating for all firefighters.
“His knowledge and expertise have been particularly important over the last year as he has assisted us through the management of the public health crisis.”
Wilf Barnes and his wife Judy retired to the Bruce Peninsula in 1995 after a 30-year career with Bell Canada. (He was also a volunteer firefighter with the Town of Simcoe for 22 of those years.)
In 1999, he joined the recently amalgamated MNBP Fire Dept as a Training Officer. He became Deputy Chief in 2004 when John White retired. Chief Barnes was appointed Acting Fire Chief on January 28, 2013, later becoming Fire Chief January 27, 2014.
His parting words: “I would like to thank the Municipal Councils and staff, firefighters, residents and businesses for their support of the Fire Department and kind words on my retirement.”