• John Jantak

NDIP considers building its own fire station without Île-Perrot


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot Mayor Danie Deschênes said a new fire station necessary for the town is not to be used as a bargaining chip to advance a vision NDIP doesn’t support – namely an amalgamation of the island’s municipalities

The City of Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot (NDIP) could go it alone in its quest to build a new fire station for its municipality, accusing its neighbouring city of Île-Perrot of, “...refusing to cooperate on the matter,” according to a press release issued by the municipality last Friday, April 12 .

The news comes just two weeks after NDIP announced it was looking for locations for a new fire station that could adequately meet the needs of its growing city. It pays neighbouring Île-Perrot for the fire services it receives through a mutual aid agreement between both municipalities.

Current fire station not suitable

NDIP hired Gordon Routley, an independent fire prevention and safety expert, to do an exhaustive study regarding the best option that would be suitable for the city. Routley concluded that the current location of the fire station in Île-Perrot could not suitably meet the needs of its neighbour because of NDIP’s expanding and sprawling landscape that is both rural and urban.

Routley’s report also concluded the current location of the Île-Perrot fire station in a high-traffic area is too far to adequately serve the needs of NDIP and that the station is reaching the end of its usefulness.

Three possible sites

The report recommended three possible new sites for a new station, the first on Forest Street, the second on Don-Quichotte Boulevard adjacent to the Hydro-Québec property, and the third at the intersection of Don-Quichotte and Saint-Joseph Boulevards.

Notre Dame Mayor Danie Deschênes said even though the elected representatives of Île-Perrot recognize the need to reduce response times in areas farthest from the existing fire station, they are refusing to cooperate on the matter.

Fire station for amalgamation

“At a meeting on April 1, they clearly told us that they would not invest in a new fire station until NDIP agrees to an amalgamation of the island’s municipalities. We do not see the fire station as a bargaining chip, and I am deeply disappointed that the Île-Perrot council is using an important issue like fire safety to advance a vision that NDIP does not support,” stated Deschênes in the press release.

“We will not trade a fire station for amalgamation and the municipality has nothing further to say about this preposterous amalgamation plan since it has absolutely no bearing on the fire safety of our residents,” added Deschênes.

‘We’ve been collaborating forever’

The Journal contacted the mayor on April 16 to see if she had any additional comments about the status of the current situation. “It’s a very delicate matter so it’s difficult to add to what’s already been written in the press release,” she said. “What I can say is that it’s an important matter for NDIP specifically. It should also be an important matter for Île-Perrot citizens.”

Deschênes acknowledges that the city has been using Île-Perrot’s fire services but added that NDIP also pays for half the expenses. “We’ve been splitting the cost for years. We’ve been serviced by Île-Perrot but at the highest cost. We’ve always been collaborating 50-50 based on the population. Because we’ve been collaborating forever, it would be natural to continue that,” said Deschênes.

Significant financial repercussions

The mayor also acknowledges the town will have to go solo if an arrangement cannot be reached with Île-Perrot. The fire protection agreement between the two municipalities remains in effect until 2021.

In the absence of a new agreement, NDIP’s withdrawal will have significant financial repercussions. Under the current understanding, when NDIP withdraws from the agreement, Île-Perrot must pay NDIP financial compensation in an amount equal to its share of the market value of the fire department’s moveable property (vehicles, equipment and materials).

A phone call to L’Île Perrot Mayor Pierre Séguin for a comment about the situation was not returned by press time.

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