North Battleford firefighters will no longer respond to emergencies outside of the city and its neighbouring rural municipality in the new year.
Officials said they tried to negotiate an agreement with rescue services stakeholders that would find a way to recover costs, but the proposal was not passed.
"We considered our proposal to be a fair and equitable, compromise in order to maintain services presently provided and not to be continually subsidized by the rate payers of North Battleford," said Albert Headrick, fire chief at the North Battleford Fire Department.
"The proposal was reasonable, recognized and appreciated, but not acceptable to the majority.”
As of December 31st the department will no longer respond to:
R.M. of Battle River No. 438
R.M. of Mayfield
R.M. of Cut Knife
R.M. of Meota
Red Pheasant Cree Nation
Moosomin First Nation
Sweetgrass Cree Nation
Resort Village of Aquadeo Resort
Village of Cochin
Village of Meota No. 468
Town of Cut Knife
Town of Battleford
He said they will still respond to fires, but anything outside of the city and its neighbouring rural municipality is the province's responsibility. He said it's unfortunate, but if a collision happens outside of the city or rural municipality of North Battleford, they won't be responding.
Headrick said one reason behind the decision to respond to local emergencies only is to recuperate costs and to not run a deficit.
He said it puts the department more in line with Saskatoon and Regina, except that North Battleford doesn't have multiple fire halls like those cities.
He said he has confidence in the volunteer fire crews in surrounding areas. Emergency 911 dispatchers along with RCMP have been informed of the change and alternative service providers are being considered.