Coun­cil­lor ques­tions fundrais­ing ef­forts

Says it may be time for fire depart­ment to ‘clear out the closet’

The Compass - - ORTHTE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER THE COM­PASS

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.

cock.

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.

nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Com­pass file photo

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