DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: Kawartha Lakes’ Fire Chief Mark Pankhurst is retiring at the end of this month.
The City of Kawartha Lakes announced the longtime fire chief’s retirement on Friday, May 28th, which is effective June 30th.
“Chief Pankhurst has been in his present role for ten years and has been with the City, and the former Mariposa Township, for more than 28 years in various positions within the Fire Service. He started his career in 1989 with Ajax Fire and Emergency Services, before assuming the role of Fire Chief with Rama Fire in 2001, and then coming to Kawartha Lakes full time in 2009,” a Kawartha Lakes press release explained.
Chief Pankhurst’s wife Lynn is also retiring, after a long career as an Educational Assistant with the Durham District School Board.
In a statement, Chief Pankhurst noted he would miss working with the firefighters and a lot of community partners.
“There are so many people I would like to thank and acknowledge, and I hope to be able to see all of you after we get past our present COVID-19 emergency. I would be remiss if I did not recognize the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC) Board of Directors, OAFC colleagues, Section 21 colleagues, the Kawartha Lakes Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 1701 and the Kawartha Lakes Volunteer Firefighters CUPE Local 5453. Thank you all for being a huge part of my career,” his statement read.
Among Chief Pankhurst’s accomplishments, the City noted, he “championed and oversaw the development and implementation of mental health supports and wellness programs for firefighters.” He also “was responsible for implementing: diesel exhaust extractors in all fire stations, proper decontamination and hygiene practices for firefighters, bunker gear washing facilities for contaminated gear, and, new Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus[es].”
Chief Pankhurst is confident the City will continue to provide the same level of service going forward, as they have been under his watch.
“I have complete confidence the Kawartha Lakes Fire Rescue Service will continue to provide the highest level of service, moving forward as a team; and I send everyone best wishes and hope for continued success. Thank you for the privilege and opportunity to be your Fire Chief,” he said in a press release.
The City noted, Chief Pankhurst is “looking forward to getting back to some hobbies, spending lots of time at the cottage and enjoying time with family and friends.”