Frivolous false fire alarms will soon face see property owners facing fines in Hawkesbury. On January 21, council approved plans to impose fines for false alarms that result in the fire department having to respond.
The fire department responds to an average of 100 to 150 false alarms each year.
All the volunteer firefighters on the department are called because the stature of the alarm call is not always known. Depending on the time of day, many of them could respond for a situation that does not necessarily warrant a major response.
CAO Daniel Gatien estimated that each carelessly triggered fire alarm could cost the town $300 to $500.
Another challenge posed by false alarms is that they needlessly take volunteer firefighters away from their regular daytime jobs.
The draft by-law indicates that building owners will be given a warning on the first offense but will be fined $300 for the second false alarm if it takes place within 12 months of the first one.
The third and subsequent false alarms at the same property, if they occur within 12 months of the first one, the fine for property owners is $1,000 for each offense.
If false alarm fines are not paid within 30 days, they get added to the tax bill for the property.
The false fire alarm by-law will be approved by council at a future meeting.
Deputy clerk to be hired, environmental superintendent confirmed
A couple of staffing changes are taking place at Hawkesbury town hall.
Council has approved the creation of a new deputy clerk position.
According to a report from Clerk Christine Groulx, the responsibilities of her department, which include by-law enforcement, are increasing.
Hiring a deputy clerk will allow for better supervision of the by-law enforcement branch and provide more assistance to the clerk’s department for updating other policies and by-laws.
During the town’s recent 2019 budget preparations, $65,000, plus benefits was earmarked for the new position. That cost will be shared between the clerk’s and by the by-law Enforcement departments.
Council also confirmed Martin Perron as the permanent Superintendent of Environmental Services.
Richard Guertin, the current superintendent, has been on holidays since November 2018 and his retirement takes effect on February 1.
Perron was made acting superintendent in November. The permanent superintendent’s position was advertised internally and externally.
Building permit stats
The final building permit figures for 2018 in Hawkesbury are out.
More than $9.8 million in construction took place during the year, an increase from $6.7 million in 2017.
Permit revenues in 2018 were $178,282.00. They were $106,265 in 2017.
A total of 214 building permits was issued throughout the year, the same number were issued in 2017.
The category with the most permits issued in 2018 was residential, with 155 permits for additions and repairs, and eight permits for new residential structures.
One permit was issued for a new commercial building and 35 permits were issued for additions or repairs to existing commercial buildings.