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Image: Submitted/Town of Grand Bay-Westfield

Grand Bay-Westfield approves service level policy for fire department

By Brad Perry Oct 30, 2023 | 1:11 PM

Grand Bay-Westfield council has approved a level of service policy for its fire department.

The new policy was one of the recommendations in a recently released fire service review.

Chief Troy Gautreau said the policy primarily formalizes the service level they have been providing for years.

“It sets the expectations for council so that the department understands what it is that council is looking for them to provide,” Gautreau said in an interview.

“Equally importantly, it tells the residents the service that they’re getting.”

The policy also outlines new services which will be incorporated into the department’s operations in the future.

The fire service review recommended enhancing fire prevention, inspection and investigation services, as well as providing water rescue services.

“We do some fire prevention in-house now, so we’re going to look to strengthen that within our current staffing and size and model,” said Gautreau.

As for inspections and fire investigations, they are currently done through the provincial Office of the Fire Marshal.

“That’s quite common in municipalities of our size. To have that type of technical expertise available is a lot more challenging, especially since they wouldn’t get that much experience in smaller communities,” said Gautreau.

According to the policy, this would only be implemented when the town’s population reaches between 8,000 and 10,000 and/or when the non-residential assessment base surpasses five per cent.

When it comes to water rescue services, Gautreau said the department currently conducts ice rescues but does not have a boat or other necessary equipment or training for water rescues.

“Now it’s in the hands of the financial world of when the municipality is able to viably put that service, from a financial point of view, into place,” he said.

Mayor Brittany Merrifield said the level of service policy aligns with council’s commitment to transparency and its strategic priority of organizational capacity.

“Approval of this Policy provides residents and businesses a clear outline of the services they can continue to expect to receive from our dedicated and efficient Fire-Rescue Department,” Merrifield said in a news release.