Whitecroft to establish fire protection service

Whitecroft

On July 22 at 7 p.m., residents of the Whitecroft and Heffley Lakes area will be meeting at the Heffley Creek Community Hall to discuss the establishment of a fire protection service for their area.  Since all properties within the Whitecroft and Heffley Lakes area will be affected by the outcome of the discussions and petition relating to this important issue, all residents are advised to attend this meeting.

This meeting was arranged for two reasons: first, as a result of a request by the Whitecroft and Heffley Lakes Fire Association (WHLFA) to have the fire protection in the area improved; and second, because of a mail vote where 77 per cent of respondents (56 percent of property owners responded) said they were in favour of creating a volunteer fire protection service for the area.  The proposal is that the fire department be TNRD owned and operated.

The TNRD is required by provincial legislation to follow a service establishment process which includes obtaining approval of property owners in the proposed service area to establish a fire protection service.  The TNRD’s role is impartial regarding whether or not the service is established and is independent of the proponents for the service.  Their role in the process includes ensuring the service establishment process meets legislative requirements, and providing information such as potential tax impacts and resources such as mapping.

The proposed location for the fire hall is a piece of property adjacent to the East Embleton Trail entrance, which would need to be purchased, and the fire hall itself would need to be built (3500 square feet).  Equipment would also need to be purchased – a new (or nearly new) fire truck, a water tanker, and personal protective clothing and other equipment for the volunteer firefighters.  While Whitecroft has fire hydrants, they do not currently have sufficient reservoir capacity to be useful, and the Heffley Lakes area has no fire hydrants, so the installation of dry hydrants at key locations in the service area would be required as well.  To pay for all this would mean an increase in taxes for the residents of the area.

The TNRD board of directors requires the approval by the owners in order to borrow the monies necessary to fund the costs of setting all this up.  At the July 22 meeting, petitions for each property will be available for signature.  The petitions must be signed by the owners of at least 50 percent of the parcels liable to be charged for the service and must also represent 50 percent of the net taxable value of all land and improvements within the proposed service area.  After the meeting, petitions will be mailed out to those property owners who were unable to attend.

Electoral Area “P” director John Sternig will lead the meeting, and TNRD staff will be in attendance to present information regarding the proposed service, including costs and the approval process.  A representative of the WHLFA will have an opportunity to speak at the meeting and there will also be an opportunity for property owners to ask questions.

Marc Coray, fire chief of the Pritchard fire department will be at the meeting to answer any questions you may have about the operations of a fire cepartment, the role of the fire chief, and the role of firefighters.