Esquimalt Fire Rescue will begin shopping for a new dispatch service after their contract with the District of Saanich. While their contract expires at the end of 2017, a temporary agreement has been signed running through the end of March. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Saanich doubles price to provide fire dispatch services to Esquimalt

District of Saanich says it can no longer afford to subsidize service to smaller municipality

Esquimalt Fire and Rescue will find itself shopping for a new dispatch program in the new year, after the District of Saanich said continuing to provide that service to the Township would require a 100-per-cent cost increase.

In a letter to the municipality, chief administrative officer Paul Thorkelsson said the District has enjoyed a professional working relationship with Esquimalt for 11 years, providing fire dispatch services. However, Saanich is “significantly subsidizing” the program to the tune of $96,165, or almost 50 per cent of the cost during 2017.

Esquimalt Fire Chief Chris Jancowski said Saanich gave notice it intended to raise the prices, but the number was still a shock.

“We knew we’d see a slight increase, but this is definitely a significant adjustment,” he said. “It was quite alarming and [caught] us off guard.”

There area number ofdispatch centres around B.C., including three in Greater Victoria (Langford, Saanich, Victoria).

Jancowski said one advantage to shopping elsewhere for dispatch services is that with the advance of technology, there are no geographical limitations on the contractor’s location for them to be able to work with Esquimalt.

The Township’s contract with Saanich expires at the end of 2017, as will the contracts the District holds with Colwood, North Saanich, Sidney and View Royal. In the meantime, Esquimalt has signed an extension of service with Saanich, costing just shy of $24,000 for the period from Jan. 1 until March 31, 2018.

“We did a one-year service renewal [in 2017] because there was at that time some conversation of getting everyone at the same level of expiry,” Jancowski explained. However, Oak Bay and Central Saanich won’t expire until some time further into 2018. The extension means there won’t be a gap in customer service or public safety.

In January, the department will be moving forward “very ferociously” to look at options, Jancowski said. “We’ll sit down and talk to other clients and look at market conditions and see if we’re getting good value.”

The conversation will happen collaboratively with council, as is protocol with other fire departments. Other Island dispatch centres are located in Nanaimo and Campbell River and on the mainland in Surrey, Kelowna and Prince George.

There is no word on potential bidders just yet.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Norma Stewart joins Langford council

Stew Young beats challenger Robert Fraser

Rob Martin is the new mayor of Colwood

Martin will be joined by four new faces on council

West Shore voters run to the polls in the final minutes

Approximately 4,500 votes cast in Colwood

Results are in for the District of Metchosin

Ranns to serve another term as Metchosin mayor with two new council members

Two new faces on the Sooke School Board

Bob Beckett and Allison Watson become SD62 trustees

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for Oct. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

B.C. man sets new Canadian marathon record at Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Cam Levins ran it in two hours nine minutes 25 seconds

B.C. Liberals’ hopes high as Nanaimo by-election approaches

Historically safe NDP seat vacated by long-time MLA Leonard Krog

Most Read