Fire chief resides in Freshwater
According to Davis, Freshwater currently owes the town for part of the year 2008 and all of 2009 and 2010. That brings the total outstanding amount owing to $11,860.
The issue arose at the Oct. 18 regular Carbonear council meeting. Two days later, and acting on a suggestion from the local service district, Carbonear sent a letter to all householders in the community.
Referring to the last resort of having to discontinue services, the town told its neighbours it “ does not wish to take this action,” but stresses that Freshwater citizens must pay their share of the costs, “as do residents of Carbonear.”
Coun . G l a d y s Me r c e r described the fee as “ not an unrealistic amount.”
The town has requested a meeting with the Freshwater committee to discuss the issue.
John E. Parsons, chairman of the Freshwater Local Service District, declined comment when contacted last week.
He said members of the committee had met the night before and agreed not to speak publicly until they had a chance to communicate with Freshwater residents.
The committee plans to draft a letter to householders, outlining the history of the fire protection fee issue.
Freshwater resident Charlene Sudbrink, a former member of the local service district committee, expressed concerns about fire protection services in a letter to The Compass ( see Page A4). Because the community does not have a municipal water/sewer system, it does not have fire hydrants.
“ Due to inadequate pumper truck capacity,” she writes, “ the water supply at a fire scene would last approximately 10 minutes.”
She feels the Town of Carbonear should not expect Freshwater residents to pay as high a fee for protection as their own, more adequately covered, citizens.
Fire Chief Ed Kavanagh, who resides in Freshwater, acknowledged the water supply issue.
He says the solution to that is to have a portable hydrant system, which would provide a continuous water supply from Freshwater Pond and other water sources to the trucks at a fire scene.
Kavanagh suggested that solution to the local service district, which would be responsible for funding the system, but he didn’t get a response.
The last time he went to pay his bill to the local service district, Kavanagh said he was told they were no longer collecting the fire protection fee, so he asked them to put it towards other services provided to him.
Kavanagh said Freshwater residents risk the possibility of higher insurance premiums if the service is discontinued.
Kavanagh said the department’s response time to an emergency in Freshwater is the same as it is around Carbonear.
Meanwhile, of the 80 calls the fire department received last year, only two were from Freshwater — both grass fires.
The last structural fire the department responded to in the community was a garage fire in 2003, which claimed the life of a man.