Billing’s fire chief resignation accepted with regret

Long-time Billings Township Fire Chief Merv Gilchrist, recently announced his resignation. Mr. Gilchrist has been the township fire chief since 2002. PHOTO BY BRAD MACKAY

KAGAWONG – Billings Township’s long-time fire chief Merv Gilchrist has announced his resignation. 

Billings Mayor Ian Anderson said at a council meeting last week, “we have a letter from our fire chief, of his resignation, that we will have to accept, with regret.”

In his letter to council Mr. Gilchrist, who has been the township fire chief since 2002 wrote, “it is with regret that I must submit this as my letter of resignation as fire chief of the Billings Fire Department. Health concerns will require my undivided attention over the next few months.” 

“I would like to thank mayor and council for their support over the years. We have been able to create a strong team that can carry out their duties efficiently,” said Mr. Gilchrist. 

“Thank you to all the firefighters! The passion shown and their care for the community is second to none,” wrote Mr. Gilchrist. “Thank you for the opportunity. It has truly been a pleasure working with all of you.”

Councillor Sharon Alkenbrack said, “we need to acknowledge the many years Merv has given to the community and the fire department and the quality of the fire department due to his leadership.”  

Councillor Michael Hunt stated, “as Merv said in his letter, (firefighters) care for the community is second to none and that has been the case with him as fire chief.” 

Randy Peters, deputy fire chief with the Billings Fire Department, supplied the Recorder with Mr. Gilchrist’s greatest accomplishments since taking over as fire chief in 2002. “There are three things that come to mind over the last few years. He has helped to build a really effective, cohesive group that is proud of what we do. Merv has done a lot in working with the township council to upgrade the fire departments equipment, including the new fire truck that was purchased during his tenure. I don’t think I ever thought we would see a day that a new fire truck would be purchased.” 

“Merv has got the job of a fire chief done—in every respect,” stated Mr. Peters. “It is my full hope that he comes back to the fire department in some capacity; he has resigned for now, but hopefully not for good.”

At last week’s Billings council meeting Mayor Anderson said he wholeheartedly agreed that Mr. Gilchrist needs to be recognized and acknowledged for his many years of service and dedication to the community and the fire department.

Council passed a motion accepting Mr. Gilchrist’s resignation as township fire chief, with regret.