Har­bour Grace makes shared-ser­vice pitch

Stone talks fire pro­tec­tion, eco­nomic devel­op­ment at joint coun­cils meet­ing

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON

A Har­bour Grace town coun­cil­lor made an im­pas­sioned pitch to fel­low mu­nic­i­pal lead­ers last week to work to­gether on projects.

Coun. Gord Stone told at­ten­dees of a Con­cep­tion Bay North Joint Coun­cils As­so­ci­a­tion meet­ing in North River that his town would like to es­tab­lish a mu­tual aid agree­ment with the Town of Car­bon­ear and any out­ly­ing com­mu­ni­ties that face the same sort of chal­lenges Har­bour Grace does when it comes to fire ser­vices.

“I’m sure if we work to­gether there’s all kinds of things we can do,” he said last Thurs­day at meet­ing that fea­tured rep­re­sen­ta­tives from com­mu­ni­ties through­out CBN, in­clud­ing Car­bon­ear.

Ac­cord­ing to Stone, his town’s fire depart­ment is fac­ing dual chal­lenges. First there’s the is­sue of hav­ing enough bod­ies to fill the uni­forms when an emer­gency hap­pens. With many peo­ple work­ing 14 days straight be­fore tak­ing a week off, it’s of­ten un­cer­tain how many fire­fight­ers can re­spond to an emer­gency at any given time. He noted the Car­bon­ear Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment has al­ways been there to help out when called upon.

On top of that is keep­ing up with the need for new equip­ment. Stone said fire de­part­ments are bet­ter off if mu­tual aid agree­ments are signed to for­mal­ize a shared-cov­er­age ar­range­ment. Do­ing so will im­prove the like­li­hood of at­tract­ing the funds needed for new equip­ment.

Clarke’s Beach Mayor and joint coun­cils vice-chair Betty Moore said her town is well served by the Bay de Grave Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment. Formed only a few years ago, it serves four mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties (North River, Clarke’s Beach, South River and Cupids) and one lo­cal ser­vice dis­trict (Makin­sons).

“It’s work­ing well,” she said, not­ing the depart­ment has pur­chased new equip­ment and trucks since its for­ma­tion.

Eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties

Stone also pushed for towns to con­sider part­ner­ing on other projects with an eco­nomic devel­op­ment an­gle. He said towns need to take ad­van­tage of fund­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able through the At­lantic Canada Op­por­tu­ni­ties Agency and pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment de­part­ments like Ad­vanced Ed­u­ca­tion and Skills. Rep­re­senta- tives from the Town of Har­bour Grace had re­cent dis­cus­sions with th­ese groups, and Stone con­sid­ers that ex­pe­ri­ence a pos­i­tive one.

“I’m here to em­pha­size there’s a lot of peo­ple out there to help us and I think we need to take ad­van­tage of it.”

He said it’s harder th­ese days to ob­tain fund­ing from gov­ern­ment de­part­ments and agen­cies be­cause they want to sup­port projects with a re­gional fo­cus. Stone sug­gests towns should start look­ing at putting ideas on pa­per to show the re­gion its mu­nic­i­pal lead­ers are pre­pared to help it grow.

Joint coun­cils chair Frank An­tle at one point sug­gested it should look at ar­rang­ing for rep­re­sen­ta­tives from th­ese de­part­ments and agen­cies to at­tend a fu­ture meet­ing.

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