Councillor questions fundraising efforts
Says it may be time for fire department to ‘clear out the closet’
A Spaniard’s Bay town councillor had strong words last week for members of the town’s volunteer fire department who have not committed themselves fully to fundraising efforts.
“If you don’t have people pulling their weight, it might be time to clear out the closet,” Coun. Sherri Collins said at a Nov. 5 council meeting.
Collins was commenting on the request of Chief Victor Hisock to have the town purchase a minium of eight new air tanks for the brigade’s inventory of self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBA). The SCBA gives firefighters the ability to breathe fresh air in an environment where there may be smoke and other noxious gases.
Mayor John Drover said the town is “obligated” to financially support the department, but he also believes the department should contribute a share of the costs.
“I don’t see a problem with the town purchasing some of those, but it’s got to work both ways,” he said. “Would you be willing to fundraise some of the money for the equipment?”
Drover then wondered how many people
“I don’t see a problem with the town purchasing some of those, but it’s got to work both ways.”
— John Drover
contributed to the fundraising efforts, and that’s when Collins made her statement.
“If five people fundraised and you have 25 people in the department, it’s not really fair to those five people,” Mayor Drover said.
Hiscock said the department could “probably” help out with some fundraising, but that is was getting “harder” to do so. “Life is so much faster,” he said. Drover recognized the difficulty in fundraising in today’s society. “Everyone’s got to pull together,” he said. All of the department’s fundraising money has been used to purchase three new pagers, two new batteries and a valve valued at $1,000. The operating grant given to the department from the town has also been depleted.
“We did a lot of training this year,” said His-
Spaniard’s Bay Mayor John Drover.
The department is getting four new tanks through a provincial government grant, but Hiscock would still like the town to pick up the tab on the rest.
“I think it falls under regular maintenance,” he said.
Shortage of tanks
Right now, the Spaniard’s Bay Volunteer Fire Department is operating without the use of eight such tanks, seven of them outdated and the other is cracked.
The lifespan of a tank is typically 15 years, explained the chief.
Normally, the department has 18 SCBA tanks in its inventory, though only 10 are now available for use.
Of those 10, three have passed inspection. The remaining seven have not yet been tested, and it’s possible the inventory could shrink even further.
“Right now, we have eight sets of (SCBA harness kits), and we’d like to have a minimum of one change out,” said Hiscock. “So, we’d like to have 16 tanks in the building.”
The cost of one tank is rated at $495 plus tax, while if the town were to purchase six or more, that prices dips to $450 plus tax, according to the chief.
Should the department, for some reason, not get the tanks it needs, it could lose its status as an offensive brigade, and its status would be changed to defensive and firefighters would not be able to enter a burning building. Council decided to move the matter to finance committee. “I really don’t think we should have to go to finance, with the service we provide the town,” said Hiscock.
Business park questions
Meanwhile, Coun. Wayne Smith requested an update on the status of Veterans Memorial Business Park, a 240-actre site located in Tilton just off Veterans Memorial Highway.
On Aug. 27, council endorsed a plan to borrow up to $3.8 million to install water and sewer infrastructure to the park boundary, and officials with the project has suggested work would begin earlier this summer. However, the site remains inactive. “Has the development committee had any conversations with the developer on Veterans Park?” asked Smith.
Drover said he had heard there had been engineers on the site, but the developer was still waiting on a contract before continuing with work.
“Would it be in order to set up a meeting with the developer to see what stage everything is in now?” Smith asked.
It was agreed the town would contact those behind the project.