Skip to content

Town of Battleford passes new firefighting service fee bylaw

The bylaw includes a fee structure for calls to service outside Battleford along with the addition of a new policy regarding the department's response to motor vehicle accidents.
fire truck ladder getty

BATTLEFORD — The Town of Battleford has passed their new Firefighting Services Fee bylaw that sees the Battleford Fire Department's charges for service to those outside Battleford, enshrined in a bylaw for the first time.

In a delegation to council earlier that night, fire chief Larry Gabruch also explained that the town's new bylaw also allows the fire department to charge SGI for a response to a motor vehicle accident, something SGI has recently changed their policy to allow.

“SGI has had a policy for many years that if a resident of our community is in a motor vehicle accident we can not charge SGI for the attendance for the call … a non-resident we can charge,” Chief Gabruch explained.

“It’s a good policy … to take advantage of the new policy SGI and is certainly welcome in the sense that it would bring more revenue into the department and our community.”

"Until this year, if you live in the Town of Battleford and you get into a car accident, that cost of the fire department responding, our taxpayers had to eat that cost," Mayor Ames Leslie explained in comments to the media post-meeting.

"So this bylaw ... allows us to take the cost of recovery for your accident and bill it to SGI and get the money back. So the taxpayers are not funding accidents inside our community anymore, of our residents."

As for the fee structure — which already existed but for the first time is enshrined in a bylaw — it ranges from $500 an hour for the second fire engine (charges do not apply for the first engine) with a minimum call-out time of one hour, to $30 an hour for each man-hour incurred with a minimum of three hours pay for a call-in. 

The bylaw also provisions that other costs ranging from absorbent material for chemical or fuel spills will be added to the bill along with a 10 percent administration fee.

When asked to clarify who would foot the bill for calls for service living outside Battleford, Mayor Leslie said, "If the Battleford Fire Department gets called out to the RM, you have a grass fire, for example. You don't have fire insurance? You pay the bill," the mayor said.

"If you do have fire insurance, that's who we send the bill to." 

Though the bylaw has the same fee structure for municipalities with, or without a mutual aid agreement with the Town of Battleford, the mayor added that sometimes an existing agreement may supersede the new bylaw. 

"The only mutual aid [agreement] we have is with the RM and it created a fire protection service so it's mutual aid through agreement. We have a mutual aid also with the City of North Battleford, and those costs don't necessarily follow the schedule, it's based on the severity of the call-out and what the mutual aid is for," Mayor Leslie explained.

The mayor added that the fee does not apply inside the Town of Battleford.

The bylaw also notes that the fire department may respond to any received request for fire services inside or outside the Town of Battleford at the discretion of the fire chief and that services may not be advisable outside corporate boundaries in various circumstances ranging from inclement weather to poor road conditions.