Town may start fining people for repeat false fire alarm calls

Why should taxpayers pay? Callouts total more than $8,000 for month of December

Lake Cowichan council is considering implementing bylaws to give the town the power to fine repeated offenders of fire alarm call-outs.

A discussion came about at the regular council meeting on Jan. 28 following a hefty fire bill submitted to council by the Lake Cowichan Fire Department.

LCFD’s incident report for December 2013 totals $8,274.37 for call-outs and practices. Councillor Bob Day said he “thought that was a little high.”

“There were several fire alarms activated and they cost about $300 each,” said Day who presented the report. “It looks like some were from the Riverside Inn but Stanley Gordon Elementary School has had a water pipe issue as well.”

A total of seven fire alarms were activated throughout the area in December that the fire department had to respond to.

“I think we should create a policy so that repeated offenders are charged a fee for the same issue. For example with Stanley Gordon, if it’s a plumbing issue,” said Day.

Mayor Ross Forrest agreed.

“If they’re not fixing the problem, why should the taxpayers have to continue to pay for that?” said the mayor.

Councillor Jayne Ingram asked the table why the alarms were being activated in the first place and pondered whether there was just a fault somewhere down the line.

The Town’s chief administrative officer Joseph Fernandez said in some cases alarms activators had “made some changes but the problem had come back.”

The mayor did sympathize with all involved.

“I’m sure the majority are weather-created but the problems should have recourse if they’re not fixed,” said Forrest.