Sask. mayor calls on federal, provincial governments to fund firefighting infrastructure

The mayor of Strasbourg, Sask., says the small town’s fire services are in crisis.Strasbourg is about 83 kilometres north of Regina. The current fire hall is falling apart, according to Mayor Kelvin Schapansky.He said the town needs around $2 million for a new fire hall big enough to deal with modern trucks and $450,000 for a new truck equipped to help with forest fires.”That’s the trouble, we cannot afford these kinds of things,” said Mayor Kelvin Schapansky.Schapansky is calling for the federal and provincial governments to help out.”There’s no funding for essential services like firefighting protection, for equipment or fire halls, and I think that needs to change,” said Schapansky.Schapansky brought forth a resolution at the annual convention of the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) in Regina this week asking the association to call on the provincial and federal governments for firefighting funding.Strasbourg and District Fire and Rescue performs a pump test on its current fire truck. (Strasbourg and District Fire and Rescue/Facebook)Schapansky said a recent survey found about 38 other small municipalities that will need new fire halls within the next five years.He noted that firefighters are volunteers in most of these small communities.”So we want them to be able to go home in the evenings, or whenever after a call, and we want to make sure they have the best equipment possible and that they are always kept safe.” Schapansky said.Schapanksy said Strasbourg has already budgeted to secure some land for a new fire hall.”So basically if we could get a little bit of funding to help out, we could put up a building,” he said.LISTEN | Schapansky spoke with host Peter Mills on The Afternoon Edition: The Afternoon Edition – Sask6:21Sask. town sounding the alarm for firefighting shortfallSchapansky asked Saskatchewan Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Don McMorris about funding for fire halls and equipment during a question and answer session at the SUMA convention Wednesday.McMorris said the province pushed for fire safety to be included in the federal Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) and its successor, but found out with the release of the federal budget that it isn’t happening.”The federal government had a large say and and for some reason would not allow fire halls to be part of the ICIP funding envelope,” he said.McMorris said the province is willing to sit down with Strasbourg and other communities to see what can be done in the future.

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