Local businesses have begun receiving letters from District of Clearwater advising them about upcoming fire inspections.
The inspections by fire chief Mike Smith will occur during the last week of January. They will not be pre-scheduled and will occur between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., the letter advises.
Examples of areas of concern that the fire chief might look for include the fire alarm system, fire sprinkler system, exits and fire escapes.
The Fire Services Act requires municipalities to provide regular fire inspections of public buildings and hotels.
Chief administrative officer Leslie Groulx presented a report on a draft fire inspection policy to town council on Jan. 17.
The policy was for the councilors to review and won’t be adopted until the Feb. 7 council meeting.
Groulx noted that the initial fire inspection visit would be intended to inform and work with the business owner or occupier to ensure the building is safe for public use. A total of 98 letters have been sent out to local businesses.
The District CAO estimated Clearwater’s first set of fire inspection would take 80 hours, including site inspections, travel time and follow-up paperwork.
The estimated cost would be $2,400 in wages and benefits. She noted that the District presently has no way to recover the costs of the inspections. Other municipalities use a business license program to recover fire inspection costs as well as to track new and existing businesses.
Mayor John Harwood commented that charging for business licenses would allow the municipality to recover some income from businesses such as roadside vendors that pay no property taxes.