Despite being presented with several options, including creating a hamlet to cover the area, Ingraham Trial residents are hesitant to make sweeping changes to continue receiving fire services from the City of Yellowknife.
The data comes from a recent Municipal and Community Affairs survey, that gathered responses from 50 residents during in-person and online feedback earlier this month.
MACA had said previously it would cost each resident around $4,000 to continue the current level of service provided by the Yellowknife Fire Division. Fifty five per cent of respondents were strongly against paying new taxes to maintain the same level of service.
Another solution had been to declare the area a hamlet, which would entitle residents to MACA funding to provide fire services. Yellowknife North MLA Rylund Johnson had previously suggested the idea.
But according to the report, of those who expressed an opinion, no residents appeared to be in support of the establishment of a hamlet.
Johnson in an email said he wouldn’t comment on the Ingraham Trail hamlet issue until he had gathered more information.
Others suggested that Environment and Natural Resources need to step-up enforcement efforts for people who leave debris on their property that could be a fire risk, and that the department should make residents more aware of how to report any risks they see.
“Fire bans need to be enforced area wide not just in parks and municipal boundaries,” one resident commented. “Enforcement is extremely important.”
Some residents suggested MACA establish a loan program so residents can purchase equipment to fire-proof their houses.
MACA added that the discontinuing of the City of Yellowknife providing fire services for the area should not impact people’s insurance premiums.
The report comes after a deal could not be reached to provide the more than 600 households who live along Highway 3 and 4 fire fighting service. Prior to April 1, the City of Yellowknife had been covering the area.
But the city said they would no longer be able to provide the current level of service without lowering response times and increasing risks for Yellowknife residents within city boundaries.
Ambulance services, including responding to calls about vehicle fires, are still being provided by the city after April 1.
From April 1 onwards, residents should still contact MACA, according to the report. From there the 9-1-1 service provider will give instructions to the caller about steps they can take and a 9-1-1 service will be dispatched. This could still be Yellowknife Fire Division, or it could be RCMP to maintain public safety, according to the report.
MACA said in their report they were working through the GNWT’s normal processes on the suggestions in the report, adding there was no timeline for this work to be completed.