FIRE DEPT. SERVICES
The Township of Langley consists of 88 career suppression firefighters. 18 full-time firefighters are on duty at any one time covering 316 square kilometers, serving approximately 50,000 households and 145,000 people.
This coming term we must take action, fully staffing the Brookswood-Fernridge fire hall with full time members, an additional apparatus staffed out of the Willoughby fire hall as well as a review of our future needs for fire hall capital projects.
Over the last two reporting years there has been a 119 per cent increase in fire-related deaths around BC, while increases to the Township of Langley's fire service has been falling behind. As our community grows so do the incidents of calls for assistance, with the ToL Firefighters responding to almost 8000 calls last year. We are facing an alarming reality if we do not shift our thinking to more of a proactive stance. Since the Township of Langley staffed four of its fire halls with full time crews beginning in 2006, we have not had another fire hall move to full time status since 2010. Our community has grown by approximately 40,000 additional people since that date, while seeing no further progression from a strictly paid on call system to full time career. In addition to the population growth we have seen over the years is also an increase in density including the addition of high rise structures. The increase of this kind of density requires not only the necessary staffing to address the added call volume but specialized training is also required. This is something that we can no longer put off, we need to ensure our members are up on the latest and most advanced training. The Township of Langley consists of 88 career suppression firefighters. 18 full-time firefighters are on duty at any one time covering 316 square kilometers, serving approximately 50,000 households and 145,000 people. While neighbouring municipalities such as Delta and Coquitlam are providing the following level of services to their residents: Delta Firefighters Local 1763 comprises of 190 career firefighters, covering 364 sq.km and serving over 100,000 residents in the municipality of Delta. Coquitlam Firefighters Local 1782 represents 168 firefighters, covering 122 sq.km and serving over 139,000 citizens of Coquitlam. This coming term we must take action, fully staffing the Brookswood-Fernridge fire hall with full time members, an additional apparatus staffed out of the Willoughby fire hall as well as a review of our future needs for fire hall capital projects. In 2016 I put forward a motion to develop a comprehensive Community Amenity Contributions (CACs) policy. CACs can take several forms including community amenities, affordable housing and financial contributions towards infrastructure that cannot be obtained through DCCs, such as recreation facilities or fire halls. Community Amenity Contributions (CACs) are amenity contributions agreed to by the developer and local government as part of a rezoning process initiated by the developer. The Township did not fully utilize Fixed Rate Community Amenity Contributions to its full potential throughout the entire Township and it relied more heavily on the limiting DCC program or general tax revenue. In contrast, neighbouring communities such as the city of Coquitlam and the city of Surrey successfully use CAC's to fund projects such as new recreation facilities, the completion of parks and new fire halls. I believe this to be an important distinction between the Township and our neighbouring communities. Looking again at the city of Coquitlam where they have almost double the number of firefighters we have here in the Tol and it’s not hard to make the connection of the immense value of incorporating funding mechanisms for fire halls through a CAC program. I was disappointed to find when my CAC motion finally made it into policy two years later that there was a limited scope and no mention of our fire department. There have been millions left on the table as we have grown our community over the last decades. As we look to the continued growth in Willoughby and the development process starting in the Brookswood-Fernridge area; I believe it is imperative we have the conversation again about how we can better ensure our growth helps pay for the essentials which are needed to provide a safe and enjoyable way of life.