Orangeville Council looking to recoup false alarm call costs

January 21, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

Dufferin OPP used 220 hours responding to 171 false alarm calls in the first 9 months of 2021 and Council is now working to mediate to the issue.

A joint motion, brought forward by Deputy Mayor Andy Macintosh and Coun. Todd Taylor, which was unanimously approved, asks Town staff to investigate the actual costs associated with false alarm calls and implement a billing system to recover those costs.

Coun. Taylor said this will ensure that the Town is “revenue neutral” in that area.

Right now, the costs from 2021 associated with false alarm calls is still being determined by the OPP.

While there’s already systems in place to help prevent this from happening with respect to false fire alarms, Deputy Mayor Macintosh noted that a bylaw is needed to regulate other types of alarms.

“Under the Ontario Fire Code, if there is a false alarm in a building, the fire department, fire inspector can go in and order them to repair their alarm system,” he said. “There’s no such mechanism with false police alarms. So, that’s why you need something like this bylaw, because otherwise they’ll just constantly be going back to the same location.

“Whereas again, with a fire alarm, if it goes off once, the inspectors in there next day, ordering them to fix it, which he has the authority to do. There’s no such authority with false police alarms or intrusion alarms and things like that. So that’s why fire is kind of left off that,” added Deputy Mayor Macintosh, who was Orangeville’s Fire Chief for almost 30 years, retiring in 2016.

Coun. Taylor noted that the bylaw, if imposed, wouldn’t immediately be punitive.

“I think all of us could have easily had a false alarm,” he said. “It’s just when you get into the second and third, it’s perhaps a detriment to everyone in terms of the tax base.”

Mayor Sandy Brown noted that Windsor Essex implemented a bylaw relating to false alarms last year and determined a fine of $180, which is the approximate cost to that municipality for each OPP call.

Since the joint motion on the false alarm calls was approved 7-0, Town staff are now reviewing the costs associated with false alarms and how a bylaw could be implemented to recover the lost revenue from residents.

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