Winnipeg firefighters' union skeptical of arson strategy

Winnipeg's solution to its arson problem should go beyond picking up old mattresses and bulky waste from back lanes more often, says the local firefighters' union.

City plan suggests picking up bulky waste from back lanes more often

Union representing Winnipeg's firefighters say a city strategy to pick up bulky waste from back lanes more often does not go far enough in addressing the arson problem. 1:17

Winnipeg's solution to its arson problem should go beyond picking up old mattresses and bulky waste from back lanes more often, says the local firefighters' union.

The City of Winnipeg is set to release its arson strategy in November, and it's expected to include a plan to pick up bulky waste from back lanes twice a week.

But United Fire Fighters of Winnipeg president Alex Forrest says that plan would deal with just a small part of the issue.

Forrest said a city the size of Winnipeg needs at least five public education officers — not three — and more funding for anti-arson education programs like Youth Firestop.

"It's about the value of one major fire in the North End. Like, that's what the ironic thing is," he said.

"It's not a huge amount of money. We just need to have proper funding."

The Youth Firestop program attempts to determine why a child is setting fires, then arranges for educational programming or other assistance to put an end to that behaviour.

St. James-Brooklands Coun. Scott Fielding says the Youth Firestop program is part of the answer to the arson problem and should be beefed up.

Fielding added that he would like to see some advance details about the arson strategy made public before the full report is released in November.

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