Steve Norn says it would be a win-win-win situation if Dettah was to provide emergency fire services for residents along the Ingraham Trail.
He argues that taking over the service would help the community become more self-sufficient and it relieves both territorial government and the City of Yellowknife from that responsibility.
“It will, however, take some time, preparation, and resources to achieve this, but time is of the essence. For example, Dettah will need to assemble a pool of volunteers who will remain on-call in case of emergencies. They will also need more equipment in terms of vehicles and personnel and protective gear, as well as training exercise to ensure that best health and safety practices are being followed,” he said.
In September, the city voted to stop providing fire services for the Ingraham Trail after Apr. 1, 2021. Prior to the vote, Rylund Johnson, MLA for Yellowknife North and whose constituents are affected by the change, pleaded with Yellowknife council. Johnson also raised the issue earlier in this session of the Legislative Assembly, calling the situation the results of “many systemic problems (that) were not solved,” including a lack of municipal funding.
Norn asked Paulie Chinna, the minister of Municipal and Community Affairs, whether she’d consider contracting the services out to Dettah.
Chinna did not give any details other than to say that her department was in conversation with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation.
“We have similar situations like this throughout the Northwest Territories where we have built-up areas outside of the municipal boundary,” said Chinna. “It does not stop the department from exploring alternative ideas and solutions.”
Chinna did not give a timeline on when her department would make a decision concerning fire services on the Ingraham Trail.