Dawn-Euphemia may pull out of Inwood Fire deal

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Dawn-Euphemia may back out of its fire service agreement with Brooke-Alvinston for the Inwood fire station.
The township council will study if the northern part of the township could be protected by the local department. Currently, the Inwood department of the Brooke Fire Service is the first responder to the area but Inwood’s role in fire protection is coming into question as Brooke-Alvinston looks at realigning its services.
In 2018, 16 firefighters resigned from the Inwood department, causing concern and political conflict. In January 2020, when the lease for the Inwood fire hall expired, the equipment used in the community was moved to Alvinston.
Recently, the municipality hired a consultant to look at what was needed to protect Inwood in the long-term.
Firehouse 33 was contracted to study the situation and said a full station was not necessary in Inwood since the Alvinston department was handling all the calls without any issues. The consultants did suggest an emergency medical response team should be set up in the area.
In a report prepared for Brooke-Alvinston’s meeting Wednesday, Fire Chief Jeff McArthur seemed to disagree, suggesting a presence is still needed.
“A continued fire presence in Inwood from a municipally owned fire station, with a downsized fleet, is the most effective way to protect the Inwood Response Area while ensuring all BFR firefighters are properly equipped with the proper tools and equipment needed,” he writes in the report to council.McArthur suggests a pumper truck should remain in the area.
Brooke-Alvinston council may set a direction on whether to allow the Alvinston station to continue covering the Inwood Fire Area Wednesday. And while the future of fire protection in Inwood is in debated, Dawn-Euphemia is being hit with a larger bill to pay for services.
Mayor Al Broad told council Monday, Brooke-Alvinston recently passed its budget which included passing along some of the cost for the fire chief.
“It wasn’t until June that we were notified we were going to pick up the wages for the fire chief….it was a surprise to us,” says Broad.
Brooke-Alvinston is now charging Dawn-Euphemia $47,000 for the Alvinston department to cover some of its area and $18,400 for the Inwood Fire Area – an almost $7,000 more than 2019 or a 13.4 per cent increase.
That prompted Broad, and the Dawn-Euphemia Fire Chief, Don Ewing, to take a look at the area covered by Inwood.
“Do we really need Alvinston to look after that Inwood Fire Area,” Broad asked.
“The fire department is very confident they can handle that area,” says the mayor pointing out that in the last four years there has been only one call per year in the geographic area the Inwood department covers. “It’s pretty low, pretty low maintenance for the most part.
“We could save some money there,” Broad said adding over the years, Dawn-Euphemia has paid extra for capital assets like fire trucks. If it withdrew from the fire service agreement, the municipality would be entitled to get its money back as Enniskillen did when it withdrew from a contract with Inwood two years ago.
Staff will study the issue to bring an recommendation back to council for discussion.