By Lyonel Doherty
A member of the Oliver Fire Department is on a leave of absence pending the outcome of a criminal charge.
Travis Allen Bolenback has been charged with unlawfully being in a dwelling house with the intent of committing an indictable offence.
A court document indicates the alleged offence occurred at an Oliver residence on May 14 of this year. Bolenback’s next appearance is scheduled for February 28, possibly for trial.
Oliver Fire Chief Bob Graham confirmed that Bolenback faces a charge and that the member is on a leave of absence from the fire department.
Graham noted the member has not been proven guilty in a court of law, noting he can’t be fired because of this charge.
The chief said he spoke to the Town of Oliver and a legal opinion was sought, with the outcome being the volunteer leave of absence. Bolenback is not attending calls but is still training with the department.
Depending on what happens in court, the member will either be reinstated to the fire department or dismissed, Graham pointed out.
The chief said the alleged incident had nothing to do with the fire department, noting Bolenback was on his own time and not on duty.
Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes said he couldn’t add much more than what the chief stated.
“I’ve had conversations with a number of people, even the RCMP isn’t saying anything.”
The mayor said people have to respect the fact that individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty. But he supports the decision that a leave of absence is the best course of action right now.
Bolenback told the Chronicle that the incident in question was merely a “dispute” with an another individual.
“My lawyer says I don’t have anything to worry about.”
However, Bolenback said the charge has made his life a “living hell.”