County of Wetaskiwin waives over $10,000 in firefighting fees

Dairy operator requests waiving of fees after serious fire in County of Wetaskiwin

County of Wetaskiwin council voted to waive about $10,000 in firefighting fees after a request was received in writing at the regular council meeting Jan. 8.

Mike Zajak, director of Emergency Services, presented a letter from Jireh Dairies dated by county staff as Jan. 3. Titled “Structure fire,” it read, “We, Glen and Christine Hofstra, owners of Jireh Dairies Ltd., ask that the County of Wetaskiwin waive any charges in excess of $10,000 in regards to our barn fire that occurred on Oct. 10, 2018. We have complied with the Fire Services Bylaw, and were not negligent in causing or contributing to the fire.”

Zajak, who noted the firefighting invoice from the Millet Fire Department for the Jireh Dairies fire totaled $20,633.75. He also stated the request does indeed follow rules put in place by the County of Wetaskiwin for such bills. “On December 4, 2018, Administration wrote a letter to Glen and Christine Hofstra (Jireh Dairies Ltd.) outlining the procedure in the Fire Services Level of Service Policy #2303 which states: ‘The County may charge fees for providing fire protection services on a parcel of land in accordance with Fire Services Bylaw No. 2016/44 and the Municipal Government Act,’” stated Zajak in his memo to council.

“If fire protection charges to be levied against a person for responding to an incident within the County exceeding $10,000, the County may waive any charges in excess of $10,000 provided that the person to whom charges are to be levied: a. has complied with Fire Services Bylaw No. 2016/44; b. has complied with all terms and conditions of any fire permit issued, if applicable; and c. was not otherwise negligent in causing or contribution to the fire.”

Zajak noted he himself was at the scene with firefighters when the blaze occurred at Jireh Dairies Oct. 10.

Councilor Josh Bishop asked if the investigation into the fire was complete and if councilors could see the results.

Zajak said the fire was deemed not suspicious and was in a fairly large barn valued at about $1 million.

Councilors voted in favour of waiving $10,633.75 from the invoice to Jireh Dairies Ltd. and forward $10,633.75 to the Millet Fire Department as outlined in the County of Wetaskiwin No. 10 Fire Services Level of Service Policy #2303, and that Jireh Dairies Ltd. be responsible for $10,000 to be paid to the Millet Fire Department.

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