WHEREAS section 3 (Municipal purposes), section 5 (Powers, duties and functions) of the Municipal Government Act, RSA 2000, c.M-26 specifies the Purpose, Powers and Capacity of Municipalities; and
WHEREAS home fire sprinklers reduce the risk of loss of life in a home fire by 80 percent; and
WHEREAS home fire sprinklers reduce the average property loss per home by 70 percent; and
WHEREAS home fire sprinklers are a strategy for municipalities to use in the delivery of fire suppression services; and
WHEREAS several municipalities in British Columbia have home fire sprinkler requirements that have reduced costs in the delivery of fire service; and
WHEREAS there is a conflict between the Safety Codes Act and the Municipal Government Act that prevents municipalities from exercising their powers at their discretion as indicated in the Municipal Government Act;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties requests that the Government of Alberta amend the Safety Codes Act to allow municipalities the option of requiring home fire sprinklers as part of their delivery of fire services.
The continuous growth of residential development within Rocky View County is placing strain on the current model of fire service delivery. The new revenues from additional development are not equal to the financial resources required to deliver fire protection to the new areas. These areas also lack a recognized water system for fire protection, which adds to the lack of resources available for fire protection. This impact on the new residents of Rocky View County is in the form of higher insurance premiums, and on existing residents in the form of increased property tax to provide funding to service the newly developed areas.
This pressure can be relieved by making home fire sprinklers a mandatory requirement for all new residential construction. Sprinklers will ease the impact on fire services by reducing the total time spent at each fire, reducing the average amount of property loss, and reducing the risk of fire death. These measures will also allow the County to develop Fire Services at a rate more closely related to the actual growth and revenue generation of the new development.
The installation of home fire sprinklers is governed under regulations adopted by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, and is enforced through the Safety Codes Act (SCA). Currently, municipalities may not regulate a matter that is regulated by the Safety Codes Act; however, the Municipal Government Act (MGA) permits municipalities to determine what services it will provide and how it will deliver those services through existing enactments, or those imposed on itself through a matter of policy. This creates a conflict for the municipality between the two acts and unfairly limits the municipality’s purpose under the MGA in determining what services to deliver, and how they should be delivered. The requested amendments to the Safety Codes Act will allow municipalities to choose whether or not they wish to apply this provision.
The AAMDC has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.