911 study to begin this spring
Roads need street signs, houses need numbers
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.”
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.