Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In October 2020, the City of Yellowknife voted to end fire services on the Ingraham Trail. The most frustrating part of that decision was that residents were only given six months to find an alternate solution. I implored the Minister during the multiple city council votes to send someone from MACA to ask for more time, knowing full well that the GNWT could not find a solution within six months, but GNWT bureaucracy doesn't move quickly and the idea of someone approaching city council to pitch a case without going up and down eight levels of bureaucracy first was an impossibility. Additionally, it seemed that finding a solution before April 1st was an impossibility, despite the best intentions of the Minister.
I have repeatedly been told that a solution would be found before April 1st. In this House on February 23rd in this session, the Minister said, "I made a commitment that we will find a solution by April 1st." Well, Mr. Speaker, tomorrow is April 1st, and if your house is on fire on the Ingraham Trail and you call 911, no one is going to show up.
Mr. Speaker, the solution that has been presented was an options paper last week, where it has $1.7 million up front and $1.2 million annually to be paid completely by residents of the Ingraham Trail. If this is the solution the Minister had in mind the whole time, I could have saved the department a lot of time by saying that no one was going to go for that. If this was a multi-million-dollar problem, I could have said to the department and my residents that this wasn't going to happen back in October.
The department is now asking residents of the trail to pay $4,000 a year for fire services. This would be one of the highest taxes in the Northwest Territories. The department is of the position that all of this money must be recovered directly from residents. I can't think of a single tax in this territory that is completely recovered by residents; 85 percent of our budget comes from the federal government.
The majority of our communities' government funding comes from ours, yet this one issue is to be completely recovered at a cost of $1.2 million for one fire a year, Mr. Speaker.
I don't know that solution the department had in mind. Mr. Speaker, rather than prepare for the incoming loss of services, residents trusted the Minister at their word and waited on the government when they said they would solve this problem. I am disappointed in the options paper and in this outcome. I was confused about what MACA was thinking was going on the entire time, and, Mr. Speaker, I'm disappointed we broke the trust of our residents. I will have questions for the Minister of MACA about what can be done going forward. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.