Town of Bashaw council agreed to work with a large multi-national company which offers help to homeowners paying for water and sewer line repairs.
The decision was made at the Sept. 16 regular meeting of council.
Councillors heard, via teleconference, a presentation from Service Line Warranties of Canada spokesperson Jeff Olson, who stated the company, which has grown to a $3 billion market cap valuation, has been making an effort to become known to municipalities across Canada after making a name for itself in Europe and Japan.
Olson stated that the company offers protection for homeowners for things like sewer laterals, water lines and electric lines repair costs, basically, he said, anything not typically covered under insurance policies.
However, he pointed out the company's offerings are not insurance policies and do not include deductibles or necessarily a long term commitment but rather are based on a monthly subscription-based model.
Olson explained that when a company subscriber calls with a complaint, Service Line Warranties finds a contractor to handle the call who then bills the company. The only thing the subscriber does, noted Olson, is pay their monthly fee and contact the company with the issue.
He also noted Service Line Warranties has relationships with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and Rural Municipalities Association (RMA) and quite a few municipalities in Ontario, but the company is not widely recognized in other parts of Canada.
He stated the company's trying to develop more relationships directly with municipalities because it seems that’s the best way to approach homeowners.
He stated Service Line Warranties has helped thousands of homeowners in Ontario but has no current partnerships with Alberta municipalities although it's been in talks with the City of Calgary.
Olson stated that, if the Town of Bashaw wanted to enter into a partnership with the company, all the town would be asked to do is allow its logo to be printed on Service Line Warranties’ correspondence.
He also noted the company offers the town a five per cent royalty from the work it does in Bashaw.
Councillors asked how much the company charges its monthly customers to which Olson responded about $6 per month to cover water lines, about $8 a month to cover sewer laterals and $8.75 per month to cover interior plumbing/drainage.
Olson also noted later in the presentation there are caps for claims but that the company has never had an instance where the cap has been exceeded.
He also stated it was important to note Service Line Warranties only covers private property, not public infrastructure.
Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Theresa Fuller stated Bashaw has had complaints in the past from residents with water and sewer line issues on their private property who feel that the problems are the town’s responsibility to handle. Fuller stated those calls cost the town a lot of money, and this service would address that.
After a brief discussion, councillors unanimously agreed to enter into a partnership with Service Line Warranties to offer services within the Town of Bashaw.
New fire chief
Fuller gave councillors an update on the fire chief situation. At a previous meeting they heard the current fire chief had resigned.
Fuller stated Dustin Hemmingson is willing to take the job and it looks like other firefighters are willing to step up and help out. As well, a deputy fire chief will be named soon.
The CAO stated it looks like it will be a collaborative effort and reminded councillors the fire chief has a lot of work to do and is only paid $250 per month to do it.
Councillors unanimously appointed Hemmingson as Bashaw’s fire chief.
Truth and Reconciliation
Fuller gave councillors an update on the federal government’s announcement that Sept. 30 will henceforth be a federal statutory holiday known as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, formerly known as Orange Shirt Day.
She stated the town was planning to recognize the statutory holiday and give staff the day off. However, Fuller stated she was planning on staff working Sept. 30 and be given the next day, Oct. 1, the day off in lieu. Councillors accepted Fuller’s report for information.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review