Artur Makos was either hiking or climbing at The Swamp crag in the Kolapore Uplands in Ontario’s Blue Mountains when he was injured this past August. The Swamp is a popular climbing area near Collingwood.
The North Bay resident was sent a bill for $9,500 after the fire department had to rescue him. The interim fire Chief Steve Conn told town council that Makos fell about 10 metres and suffered injuries to his back and hip.
Conn said nearly 20 firefighters spent around five hours rescuing Makos. Because the hiking was deemed high-risk, the town billed Makos. “This was a significant amount of time firefighters did spend on this call, and that’s why this gentleman was billed for that. It didn’t fall 100 per cent on the back of the taxpayers,” Conn said.
Makos said he had no idea that he would be billed for fire department services and that the amount won’t be covered by his insurance company. “The cost I am being billed for is a substantial burden to me and my family,” he wrote to council.
CAO Shawn Everitt said the town does include backcountry rescue fees in its annual budget. “These are fees and charges that we have not pulled out of the air,” he said. Search and rescue fees vary from place to place in Canada.