News

Wetaskiwin protective services kept busy in 2016

Wetaskiwin city hall. - Stu Salkeld
Wetaskiwin city hall.
— image credit: Stu Salkeld

City of Wetaskiwin protective services staff had a busy 2016 year, with many statistics going up from 2015, according to the protective services report presented at city council’s Jan. 23 meeting.

Director of protective services Leigh Sawicki told councillors during this year fire protection is going to be one of the areas protective services focus harder on.

Sawicki’s report states, “The Fire Department has seen an increase in repairs to vehicles most likely attributed to age and use. Pump service testing was completed in October with all pumps passing with the exception of the Aerial ladder. The failure of the ladders pump was required to be repaired for insurance purposes at cost of approximately $14,000. The testing of the ladder itself passed with no issues. The department has purchased a thermal imaging camera to replace the one currently used in the rescue which was budgeted for in 2017. This unit came in under budget and should be in service late February.”

The department also acquired a training house west of the city to maintain the firefighter’s skills over the winter months. The structure will be burned in March, concluding the department’s training with the house.

Over the course of 2016 the Wetaskiwin Fire Department responded to 430 emergency calls, up from 2015’s 378 calls.

Alarms ringing with no fire decreased from 2015, 91 to 88, but preventable false alarms went up to 39 from 17.

Medical assists have increased exorbitantly from 37 to 108.

Animal shelters was another area council questioned.

During 2016 the total number of stray dogs and cats taken in was 282, up from 2015’s 273.

Getting the animals the city picked up treated at clinics was just under $30,000 in expenditures, for an average cost of $105.95 per animal, down from $115.26 per animal last year.

“Is that made up in the fines or does it cost the citizens $30,000?” asked mayor Bill Elliot.

Sawicki says protective services had budgeted for $38,000, and that it’s impossible to predict the number of animals that will come in each year.

He added he could not speak to the amount of revenue generated by fines, as the money goes into general funds.

Under the Community Peace Officer Program recruitment has started for a third officer. Sawicki informed council more than 60 applications were received by the Jan. 23 closing date.

The number of incidents increased in every category with fines in 2016 coming in at $64,839. In 2015 there was $7,550 in fines.

The department continues to work with the RCMP to assist bylaw to assist with traffic and calls. Joint traffic education and enforcement operations are being planned in the near future.

 

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