Emerald Park Fire Hall - Grand Opening - July 15th, 2022
The RM of Edenwold has become an active participant in fire protection services within the region with the grand opening of the new Emerald Park Fire Hall.
The official grand opening took place on July 15th, 2022, as an evening event for the whole family. Along with tours of the new facility, there were bouncy castles, popcorn, giveaways, and a fireworks display.
The new fire hall will provide improved emergency service to Emerald Park, Great Plains Industrial Park, surrounding country residential subdivisions, and rural areas. It will also ensure timely and efficient emergency response while positioning the RM in a long-term and financially sustainable position.
“It's great for the community,” says Reeve Mitchell Huber. “As there continues to be growth in the region, all service providers are now better positioned to efficiently address emergencies by having more services available in closer proximity to residents and businesses.”
Click on any of the links below to watch short videos on the Emerald Park Fire Hall Grand Opening and construction:
|Grand Opening Speeches (Part 1)
|Grand Opening Speeches (Part 2)
|July 2022 Update (Landscaping)
|July 2022 Update (Painting)
|May 2022 Update
|April 2022 Update
|March 2022 Update
|Groundbreaking Event (November 2021)
Fire Protection Agreements
The RM has fire protection agreements with the Towns of Balgonie, White City, and Pilot Butte, the Village of Edenwold, and the Hamlet of Kronau. According to the terms of these agreements, individual landowners are not charged for call-out fees or services rendered.
Note: While the RM has standard fire protection agreements with Balgonie, White City, Pilot Butte, the Village of Edenwold, and the Hamlet of Kronau, the municipality has a secondary service agreement with the City of Regina. This means that the city will only respond if another fire department calls for assistance. As a result, when the City of Regina responds to a call, all associated fees are invoiced to the person receiving service. This invoice can be, at minimum, $10,000. The RM recommends all residents have adequate fire insurance to prevent a costly invoice.
The Emerald Park Fire Hall Q&A
Q) Was creating the Emerald Park Fire Department and building the new fire hall necessary?
Yes, it was necessary. It improves safety and improves the long-term financial position of the RM.
The RM prepares business cases for all financial and operational decisions, including fire services. The professional expertise of management and staff, along with recommendations of consultants, has determined the fire hall to be financially viable and sustainable long-term, but more importantly, essential to the safety of the RM and surrounding municipalities.
Considering that Fire Agreement Fees have increased by 10% to 44% in just the last five years, it only made sense for the RM of Edenwold to become more self-sufficient long-term. For example, going back even further in one such agreement, the cost increase was more than $75,000 a year from the rate set only ten years ago.
The RM's investment decision was not predicated on a rising number of emergencies and response times. The number of calls responded to each year is irrelevant. The focus of creating the Emerald Park Fire Department is to be on guard to reduce property loss and prevent critical injury and loss of life – of which no price can be placed.
We hope that our ratepayers never need to have the Emerald Park Fire Department attend in a moment of crisis – to save a life or a million-dollar building from ruin is the goal.
Q) How many calls have occurred in the RM and what is the average response time?
There are too many variables that affect the average response time. This includes the season, time of day, weather, and the nature of the call.
It’s not just fire calls that the Emerald Park firefighters are responding to; there are also medical and rescue calls, plus false alarm calls that enter the equation. Depending on the Emergency, each truck has a different number of members that would respond.
Q) Will the fire hall improve overall safety for the area?
Additional emergency response resources should always be welcomed and encouraged.
Beyond ensuring the long-term financial position, the RM wants to provide all ratepayers with the comfort of having a dedicated fire service that would offer better proximity to the service and ensure priority in the event of an emergency.
The Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency Fire Service Minimum Standards Guide is only now being rolled out by the Province, and the fire department has until the end of October 2023 to meet the compliance.
At this time, all Emerald Park members already meet these requirements.
Q) How will fire hall improve the long-term financial position of the RM?
Our goal since 2008 was to make the RM of Edenwold more self-sufficient and reduce costs over the long term beyond the initial capital costs. This process has involved elected officials over numerous councils voting in the best interests of all ratepayers.
The new service is now on standby for the public safety of the residents not only of Emerald Park but also White City, Pilot Butte, Village of Edenwold, Balgonie, and the rural areas within the RM of Edenwold.
Financially, the investment to build the facility includes capital contributions from the provincial government’s Municipal Economic Enhancement Program. Don McMorris, Minister of Government Relations, and Christine Tell, MLA for Regina Wascana Plains, recognized that the venture would improve the quality of life for all those who call the RM of Edenwold home and position the area for future growth.
Comments from both Ministers on the importance of the new service are available via the presentation from the ribbon-cutting event on July 15, 2022. You can view this video here: https://youtu.be/T_px8K40lAk
Additionally, Kevin Dell (Fire Chief) has extensive experience in fire services budget management and procurement of fire materials and supplies. Kevin’s experience has allowed purchases and operations to come in under budget. Kevin will continue to work closely with Council, management, and finance on the fire hall's short- and long-term financial planning.
The Fire Hall project was completed on schedule and budget approved by the council. The expected operating cost is forecasted at $130K. The annual fire protection spending costs are under review and contract negotiations.
All firefighters for the Emerald Park Fire Department are volunteers. The RM will follow a standard similar to the fire departments in Balgonie & Pilot Butte, where volunteers receive a set annual honorarium amount, regardless of how many times they are called out. This ensures the RM will have fixed costs annually.
Also, rather than paying a full-time salary of almost $150k a year for a fire chief, the RM partnered with Pilot Butte to split costs for additional savings.
Q) What sources were used to pay for the costs of this "fire hall"?
Funding and planning for the fire hall began over ten years ago and featured no borrowing to finance the fire hall, materials, or supplies.
A breakdown of sources includes:
- $225K MEEP 2020 grant funding received for fire hall
- $1.08M of reserves collected over the past 10+ years and used for the fire hall
- Remaining cost of fire hall, equipment & supplies were cash purchases out of general revenue
Q) Will the RM cancel fire services agreements with neighboring municipalities?
Under our cooperating agreements, standard procedures would still be to request mutual aid from the neighboring Fire Departments for any structure fires. Therefore, the RM of Edenwold will continue to have fire service agreements with neighboring municipalities, but now that we are also an active participant in fire protection, this cost will be drastically reduced. In turn, we will also be able to support other municipalities in any escalated emergency.
Fire agreements are also negotiated and reviewed every five years, with December 31, 2022, being the end of the current Fire Agreement term. The new fire service agreement fees are still under negotiations and will be incorporated into the 2023 budget once settled.
If you would like to volunteer with a community fire department, please contact any fire department at the numbers below:
Emerald Park / Pilot Butte - Kevin Dell - 306-527-7582
Balgonie - Doug Lapchuk - 306-5707791
Village of Edenwold - Darcy Scott - 306-591-0010
Village of Kronau - Paul Fischer - 306-536-7089
White City - Randy Schulz via town office - 306-357-3181