Esquimalt Fire Rescue has accepted a proposal from the City of Surrey to provide the department with dispatch services. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Esquimalt finds fire dispatch services in Surrey at half the cost

Township chose not to re-sign with Saanich after district doubled the price

After shopping around for a better price on fire dispatch services, the Township of Esquimalt has accepted a proposal from the City of Surrey.

In December, council received a letter from the District of Saanich – with whom they had worked for over a decade – saying the cost was about to double. Esquimalt Fire Chief Chris Jancowski said the department knew an increase was imminent, but the number still caught them off guard.

In a letter to council March 7, Jancowski wrote, “As stewards of the public purse, it was difficult to justify a doubling of dispatch costs when there are other providers that likely charge considerably less.”

RELATED: Saanich doubles price to provide fire dispatch services to Esquimalt

The District of Saanich also provides fire dispatch services to Colwood, North Saanich, Sidney and View Royal. The four municipalities, along with Esquimalt, decided this week to pass a motion to enter into an agreement with Surrey, one of the largest dispatch centres in the province, serving 32 other communities.

In the meantime, Esquimalt signed two extensions that will utilize Saanich operations until the end of April 2018 after their contact expired at the end of 2017.

This leaves a bill tallying just $95,700 for Esquimalt taxpayers for the remainder of 2018, compared to Saanich’s price of $196,200. The City of Surrey will also charge the Township an additional $6,000 in the first year of operation for training and implementation costs.

“Esquimalt council unanimously supported the recommendation of going with Surrey for fire dispatch,” Mayor Barb Desjardins said. “This is a significant cost saving for our community and the others of the region that are supporting this direction.”

In total, three proposals were received for consideration, including the District of Saanich, the City of Surrey and the CRD/City of Langford.

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