Lakeland and District Fire Department hits the ice for third annual fishing derby

Members of the Lakeland and District Fire Department have plans for a new fire hall, but they’ll need great ice fishing weather to make it happen.

The department hosts its third annual Ice Fishing Derby at Murray Point on Emma Lake this weekend, with 100 per cent of all money raised going towards the new fire hall. Head organizer Martin Taylor said they’re hoping for a strong turnout since it’s free fishing weekend, so participants won’t need a licence to take part. It’s just a matter of getting some good weather.

“We see the majority of the tickets sold the day of the event. Most people just walk on to the ice,” Taylor explained. “Really the weather’s going to be make or break it.”

The fire department has sold 50 tickets so far this year, two more than this time in 2019. That year, roughly 125 people took part, and Taylor said they’re aiming for a similar number this year.

“Whatever we can raise is great,” he explained. “We’ve seen great support from our community already, we’ve had several local businesses (donate). Really our goal is just to get people out there.”

Taylor said rural first responders and firefighters are vital since similar services from the city can take over an hour to arrive at rural homes and businesses during an emergency. The new fire hall in Christopher Lake will help decrease response time and increase the quality of service.

The department responded to 129 calls for service in 2019, and not all of them are for fires. The department also provides medical help until an ambulance arrives.

“If we’re going an hour and a half away and someone actually needs an ambulance or someone actually needs a fire department to show up, that’s a long time to wait in an emergency,” Taylor said. “Having those first responders able to get there within minutes could be the difference between saving someone’s life or belongings.”

The third annual Lakeland and District Fire Department Fishing Derby runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15. The winner will receive $1,500, while second and third place will take home $750 and $300 respectively. Hot food will be available on site for purchase.

For more information, please contact the Lakeland and District Fire Department at 306-550-6914.

Saturday’s forecast calls for mainly sunny skies at Christopher Lake, with a temperature of around -18 C.