Province antes up with more cash for fire calls to provincial highways

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Barry Wright/The Independent

It isn’t big dollars, but the mayor of Warwick will take it.

Hourly rates paid to municipal fire departments to respond to emergencies on Highway 402 are increasing.

The rates, which had not gone up since 2010, increased from $410 to $450 per hour on November 1 for each responding vehicle.

“This is a win for us,” said Warwick Township Mayor Todd Case during Monday’s council meeting.

He told his colleagues to be happy with the additional dollars since funding victories by municipalities from the provincial government have been few and far between recently.

In a letter to the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs late last month to announce the increase, Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca said the rates would increase annually moving forward based on the Consumer Price Index.

Case has been working with the Ministry of Transportation on the issue with other mayors along the 402 for a number of months, trying to increase compensation for the service. Case hopes to convince the MTO municipalities should be compensated for responding to emergency calls which turn out to be false alarms.

Warwick has responded to nine calls this year that have been eligible for provincial dollars and have received just over $23,000 for those calls.

A staff report says the new hourly rates will also be applied to the fire agreement that Warwick has in place with Plympton-Wyoming.

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