Whiteway, Cavendish merge fire departments
New truck promised
The new brigade will serve more than 230 households. Members have already undergone additional training, and new state-of-the-art breathing apparatuses and bunker gear has been purchased.
Within three years, the brigade will get a new fire truck, Trinity-bay de Verde MHA Charlene Johnson told the crowd.
What’s more, the province provided more than $30,000 in funding this year, and a similar amount has been committed for next year.
“When you come together, we’re more willing to step up to the plate and do that bit extra,” Johnson said.
The MHA said she was proud of the co-operation and open-mindedness shown by leaders in both communities. In a message to representatives of other brigades on hand for the ceremony, Johnson invited others to follow the example set by Whiteway and Cavendish.
“Change isn’t often easy, but at the end of the day if residents have better service, that’s what it’s all about,” she said.
Some call the merger a natural evolution. Both brigades have jointly organized an annual Santa Claus parade for nearly a half-century, and there has been an unwritten mutual aid agreement in place for many years.
There was some initial apprehension from some of the older folks, but the boundaries of the past are slowly coming down, added Whiteway Mayor Craig Whalen, who is also a member of the new brigade.
“We’ve gone from a handful of people to a houseful of people,” Whalen told the several dozen people gathered at the fire hall.
In fact, Whiteway had dropped to about 10 active members. Cavendish had about 30 members, but a large number of those work in western Canada on shifts that take them away from home for several weeks at a time.
The new roster is just shy of 50 members.
Joy Dobbie, who chairs the Local Service District of Cavendish, said the merger smooth.
“They came together because they saw that it makes sense,” said Dobbie. “They did it without any fuss. It seemed effortless. I’m amazed.”
Mayor Whalen suggested there may be more opportunities for the two communities to co-operate in the future, calling the merger “just the beginning.”