Clarence-Rockland Mayor Guy Desjardins said his municipality is reluctant to pay for a regional fire dispatch service as it's already covered by Ottawa. (File photo/Francis Tessier-Burns).

‘Go or get off the pot’: UCPR fire dispatch

Recently, The Review reported the United Counties of Prescott and Russell was looking to have its upcoming fire dispatch communications system managed by Turris Communications. The new price for the service dropped to $3.5 million over 10 years.

As part of the negotiations, the UCPR inquired about the possibility of Clarence-Rockland opting out of the deal; it would result in saving $140,000.

Mayors around the table pressed Clarence-Rockland Mayor Guy Desjardins on whether the city was in or out as council needs to make a decision before the end of the month.

We’re in a position now where we have the information, we just have to know whether Rockland is in or out,” said Champlain Mayor Gary Barton. “We need to do the proverbial thing of go or get off the pot.”

If the city does stay in the agreement, its portion would be about $98,000 per year for the lifetime of the deal. Desjardins said that since his fire dispatch services are through Ottawa, and not Hawkesbury like the other seven municipalities, the communication system is already up to date.

“Why pay the bill for something we already have?” he said.

“I understand Rockland’s position but this is the United Counties; we do things in partnership here,” replied Russell Mayor Pierre Leroux. “You can’t sit back and take the biggest share of the pie and then say, ‘No we don’t want to pay’.”

Champlain Mayor Gary Barton was fed up with the back-and-forth debate.

“Frankly, I don’t care,” he said. “If Rockland wants to stay in, fine. If not, fine, the rest of us will carry the load… but let’s move the damn project forward and move it now so we can make a decision.”

Whatever Clarence-Rockland decides, the project will cost the UCPR this year. It will be putting aside $50,000 for a project manager to continue discussions with Turris and another $10,000 for possible system upgrades before the contract kicks in either late this year or January 2019.