Shared Fire Service Pilot Project - Niagara West Fire and Emergency Services
The Town of Lincoln and The Town of Grimsby are collectively embarking on a pilot project to undertake shared fire protection services. Both Councils have approved reports directing their respective staff to proceed with jointly establishing and regulating a Fire Department for the two neighbouring communities in West Niagara.
The approved plan for a shared fire service allows both municipalities to maximize their collective resources and reduce costs, resulting in administrative efficiencies and additional support for frontline services. This also helps to preserve the volunteer fire service model both municipalities currently employ.
The service was first explored as a response to the Province’s Regional Government Review that was initiated in 2019. While amalgamations did not take place, municipalities were encouraged to explore opportunities for shared services with other municipalities, in the interest of achieving operational efficiencies and focus on frontline services. A partnership between Grimsby and Lincoln was explored due to similarities between the two communities’ populations, demographics, geographic profiles, growth projections and existing fire protection agreements between the two municipalities.
The project is coming to fruition thanks in large part to a Provincial Modernization Grant which allowed the municipalities to further investigate the opportunity, and a working group comprised of the Fire Chief and the Chief Administrative Officers, Deputy Fire Chiefs and Finance teams from both Lincoln and Grimsby.
The project will be rolled out in two phases. Phase 1 the pilot project will start around October 1, 2021, and is expected to continue for approximately 24 months. During this phase a single fire department will be created, with a Joint Advisory Committee established to oversee to provide governance to the service area, and a Fire Master Plan will also be carried out through a third party.
Phase 2 would proceed to full implementation of the partnership, further addressing alignment of staffing, cost sharing and capital property.
“Lincoln Council strongly supports a shared fire service with Grimsby in alignment with our priority of being a Resilient Community, by planning for continued public safety and ensuring responsible and sustainable financial management., as we nurture and grow our partnerships while continuing to provide this crucial service to the community more efficiently.” ~ Mayor Sandra Easton, Town of Lincoln
“Strong partnerships such as the one Grimsby and Lincoln share are the cornerstones of community progress and success. This shared fire service pilot program will preserve the excellent services that our fire department team provides, and also capture efficiencies and opportunities through partnership and teamwork.” ~ Mayor Jeff Jordan, Town of Grimsby
“This is an exciting and important first step in the spirit of Lincoln’s rich history of cooperation and collaboration with Grimsby. This joint service will better protect our citizens and ensure reduced administrative costs, which in turn will allow more funding to be dedicated towards frontline services. Through this two-year pilot we will be able assess whether this partnership will lead to a more permanent solution.” ~ Michael Kirkopoulos, Chief Administrative Officer, Town of Lincoln
“This shared service model is a great example of innovative thinking, towards improving essential services to the Grimsby community and optimizing municipal resources. We are eager to advance the work on this progressive initiative, with our Town of Lincoln partners.” ~ Harry Schlange, Chief Administrative Officer, Town of Grimsby
“Much consideration and hard work have gone into developing the model for this pilot project, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in Grimsby in launching the program. At the forefront of this initiative is our mutual goal of providing the highest quality emergency response to the Lincoln and Grimsby communities.” ~ Greg Hudson, Fire Chief, Town of Lincoln
“This is a great opportunity to co-operate and share resources between our two similar fire departments, preserving our volunteer fire service model with the dedicated firefighters that support our communities not only in emergencies, but through community work. Through this partnership we will continue to focus on what ultimately matters; preventing fires and educating our citizens to keep our communities safe.” ~ Bill Thomson, Acting Fire Chief, Town of Grimsby
- Town of Lincoln Staff Report FS-02-21: Shared Fire Service Pilot Project
- Town of Grimsby Staff Report CAO-21-10: Shared Fire Service Pilot Project
- Town of Grimsby