911 study to be­gin this spring

Roads need street signs, houses need num­bers

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY LIL­LIAN SIM­MONS

Ac­cord­ing to the chair­man of the Con­cep­tion Bay North Joint Coun­cils As­so­ci­a­tion a study on a prov­ince-wide 911 ser­vice is slated to be­gin this spring.

Frank Evely said he and Joint Coun­cils sec­re­tary Norma Bon- nell met with emer­gency ser­vices of­fi­cials in St. John’s last Wed­nes­day, March 18.

Joint Coun­cils has been push­ing for a 911 emer­gency ser­vice for at least 20 years.

The chair­man said he was dis­ap­pointed there were no MHAs for Trin­ity Con­cep­tion at the meet­ing.

How­ever, Trin­ity-Bay de Verde MHA Char­lene John­son’s ex­ec­u­tive as­sis­tant Denise Wood­man was there to meet with Mike Samp­son, CEO for Emer­gency Ser­vices for New­found­land and Labrador and Bradley Power, pub­lic re­la­tions spe­cial­ist for Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices.

“Mike Samp­son gave us a back­ground of what’s go­ing on,” Evely said last Thurs­day.

Ap­par­ently there was some in­ves­ti­ga­tion into set­ting up a 911 ser­vice for the en­tire prov­ince back in the mid 1990s.

“At that time it would have

cost about $10 mil­lion,” Evely said.

In 2008 the prov­ince took an­other look.

“With the tech­nol­ogy back in the’90s not com­pa­ra­ble to to­day, they took an­other look at it,” said the chair­man.“And last fall they asked for ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est to do a study.”

Ac­cord­ing to Evely, 13 groups have re­sponded.

“Now they’ll have to de­cide which group is most qual­i­fied, the study should be­gin some­time this spring, and the re­sults should be in by the fall.”

There are three ar­eas in the prov­ince that cur­rently have 911 ser­vices: St. John’s, Gan­der and Cor­ner Brook.

Evely spec­u­lated the study might look at ex­tend­ing on those ser­vices to in­clude sur­round­ing ar­eas.

“All the things that can and can’t be done will be pointed out in the study.”

But he said, the ser­vice has to be fully in place be­fore the switch is thrown.

“Once you say 911 is avail­able for ser­vice, it has to be com­pletely avail­able.”

Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties

Evely, who is a mem­ber of Clarke’s Beach Town Coun­cil, be­lieves mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties will have to carry out some work in prepa­ra­tion as well.

“We have to make sure homes are num­bered for iden­ti­fi­ca­tion pur­poses. Right now many homes don’t have their num­bers on the out­side.”

Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties also need to en­sure roads are prop­erly marked for quick iden­ti­fi­ca­tion by emer­gency work­ers.

“Our sig­nage would have to be brought up to stan­dard — which would be a good thing.”

For the most part, res­i­dents in Trin­ity Con­cep­tion usu­ally re­fer to routes by names in­stead of route num­bers. For ex­am­ple most peo­ple re­fer to Route 60, Con­cep­tion Bay North High­way as the main high­way or Con­cep­tion Bay High­way and Route 73 con­nect­ing Trin­ity Con­cep­tion as New Har­bour Bar­rens.

Evely said he’s heard com­plaints from real es­tate agents and couri­ers that the houses and roads are not clearly marked.

“And in a lot of towns you get rep­e­ti­tious names,” he pointed out. “ For ex­am­ple, here in Clarke’s Beach we have Dawe’s Av­enue, Dawe’s Cres­cent and Dawe’s Road, which could lead to con­fu­sion. Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are go­ing to have to iden­tify their roads a lit­tle bet­ter.”

Over­all, he felt the meet­ing was en­cour­ag­ing.

“We agreed when the re­sults are back we would get to­gether again to dis­cuss it and the re­sults of the study would be made pub­lic.

“ It’s go­ing to cost a lot of money, we know that. But if you’re spending money it will cre­ate jobs for peo­ple to do the leg­work.”

For now, Joint Coun­cils is urg­ing res­i­dents to keep a list of fire and emer­gency num­bers in a handy place or com­mit them to mem­ory.

“That’s about all we can do in the mean­time.”

The next meet­ing of Con­cep­tion Bay North Joint Coun­cils As­so­ci­a­tion will take place Thurs­day, March 26 in South River.

Coun­cils will tackle an­other hot topic for towns in Con­cep­tion and Trin­ity Bays — waste man­age­ment.

“Ken Kelly, the chair for the Greater Avalon waste man­age­ment com­mit­tee will be there to an­swer all ques­tions coun­cil­lors have about the role of the com­mit­tee and waste man­age­ment,” Evely said.

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