The Paint Lake Volunteer Fire Department (PLVFD) is celebrating 25 years! What started as a small group of community members willing to volunteer their time to help protect the community has grown to include a fire hall with attached community centre. It’s a real honour to have been there when PLVFD founded in 1996 to see where we are now!
In the beginning, the volunteer group fundraised with the community and purchased small Honda pumps placed in barrels with gear to fight fires when needed. Jim Nichols headed the charge of building of a 24-foot by 24-foot garage to house gear. Then Jim Wasliw purchased a used ambulance; this became a response vehicle providing warmth for our pumps and firefighters in winter. That was how we grew: by the will of enthusiastic Paint Lake residents who wanted to do the right thing: to have fire response capability in our community.
There were many who contributed to the PLVFD by joining up, helping with events and donating to the cause. Through the years we had a marquee event – a “Wild Boar Night,” annual pancake breakfasts, fishing tournaments, raffles, and gala events all driven by volunteers from the Paint Lake community and the Paint Lake Cottage Owners Association (PLCOA). Currently, we have a contract with the Manitoba government to provide services for a fee that covers the expenses of running the fire hall. We do still need to rely on donations and fundraising to make large equipment purchases.
Fundraising alone was unable to provide enough money for each phase of the fire hall builds (2003-04 and 2013-14). Together, the PLCOA, the PLVFD, and the provincial government crafted two financial arrangements. Costing was distributed over three years and allowed construction to begin.
The current fire hall is a modern 2,400-square-foot facility housing the response vehicle, two fire trucks with roll up water, and all firefighting gear and personal protective equipment required to action a fire. We are fortunate and proud to have such a facility and volunteers with the support of our community.
The result of all the above has afforded Paint Lake community members reliable fire coverage for their home. The cost of home insurance for every cottage and home is reduced due to the recognition of the capability of the PLVFD by the Fire Underwriters Service (FUS). Each road access homeowner at Paint Lake saves an estimated $400 per year due to the recognition of the PLVFD under FUS.
We have come to the time for a review by FUS and are in the position to lose our fire rating which will then affect our savings on home insurance. Due to the age of our fire trucks, we will not comply with the requirements of FUS to achieve the coverage we all now enjoy.
Losing our FUS rated coverage is a huge concern to all home and cottage owners in Paint Lake Provincial Park.
Despite living beside an ample water supply, we need a newer fire truck that satisfies the FUS assessment.
Our current trucks are over 25 years old. The cost of a replacement is estimated between $150,000 and $300,000. This is substantial and cannot be achieved by regular fundraising methods. The cost dispersion model we used for the construction of our new fire hall is no longer an option with the province.
During COVID, fundraising has been stalled. We are currently holding a 50/50 draw. Tickets are $10. The maximum payout is $25,000. All members have tickets to sell; as well, tickets are for sale at the Paint Lake Marina, Hi-Tech Auto, Rick’s Marine, Nickel City Motors, Crazy Pete’s, and Northland Tire. We are also accepting interact e-transfers at PLVFDfundraiser@gmail.com.