Fire deal reviewed after dispute

·2 min read

With a fire master plan and community risk assessment in the works to consider the safety of all Southwest Middlesex residents, council unanimously passed a resolution to have the emergency management group come up with an option for the northwest corner of the municipality protected by Brooke-Alvinston’s fire department.

In April, council discussed Brooke-Alvinston sending a bill to Southwest Middlesex and Dawn Euphemia for the renovation of its Alvinston firehall that did not discount an equal portion of the grant it got to do the work. Deputy Mayor Marigay Wilkins went so far as to call it unethical that $6-7,000 was not trimmed from Southwest Middlesex’s portion.

“I know for a fact that Southwest Middlesex has applied for more than one grant and we split it between the municipality and then we divide up the balance remaining. So I really think that this municipality should be considering moving towards a fee for service agreement. We have one now with Strathroy-Caradoc,” Wilkins said at the time.

Alvinston’s hall responds to fires and vehicle collisions north of Carolinian Drive and west Dundonald Road.

While all councilors agreed to have options be looked at, not all agreed change was needed.

“I’ve been on the board for quite a while and enjoyed the camaraderie with Brooke-Alvinston. I think they’ve done a good job. I know we’ve received emails from that area that are happy with the Brooke-Alvinston fire department, especially since they are located so closely to the Alvinston firehall; it’s less than three miles to the border of Southwest Middlesex. Any reorganization – I would like to see it left the way it is right now,” said Coun. Martin Vink at the May 25 meeting.

Brooke-Alvinston considers the current arrangement to be a committee of the Brooke-Alvinston council, not a joint fire services board.

“We certainly don’t want to lose what we have. And I think it is extremely important that we all realize that there are two railway tracks between the Southwest Middlesex firehall and the Wardsville firehall, between (them and) the area of study,” said Mayor Allan Mayhew

The mayor added he believes this is an opportunity to possibly enhance the fire protection for this area.

Coun. Mike Sholdice said he wanted public consultation on any changes to fire service for this corner of the municipality.

“I know they’re very opposed to any change in this service,” said Sholdice.

When asked if there will be public consultation, CAO Jill Bellchamber-Glazier said it was a good idea for councilors to approach the emergency management group developing the fire master plan and community risk assessment with what they have heard from residents.

Chris Gareau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner

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