In­evitable con­ver­sa­tion

The Compass - - EDITORIAL - — An­drew Robin­son is The Compass’ edi­tor. He can be reached at edi­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

The fact New­found­land and Labrador has a rapidly aging pop­u­la­tion has been a known en­tity for years. At the pre-bud­get con­sul­ta­tion ses­sion in Bay Roberts last week, Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties New­found­land and Labrador pres­i­dent Churence Rogers ac­knowl­edged the stress that places on towns. Com­bined with the press­ing is­sues they face and the limited re­sources to work with from what’s of­ten a dwin­dling tax base, Rogers wor­ries many towns will be short on can­di­dates in the 2017 gen­eral elec­tions.

Age and work habits also fac­tor into the prob­lems faced by small-town fire de­part­ments. Mem­bers in many com­mu­ni­ties are get­ting older. A younger fire­fighter’s em­ploy­ment sit­u­a­tion may in­volve work­ing 14 days straight and then hav­ing seven days off. When an emer­gency hap­pens, who knows who will be around to re­spond?

It was with that in mind that Har­bour Grace Coun. Gord Stone made his pitch last week at the Con­cep­tion Bay North Joint Coun­cils meet­ing to en­ter into a mu­tual aid agree­ment with the Town of Car­bon­ear and neigh­bour­ing com­mu­ni­ties who might be in­ter­ested, like Spa­niard’s Bay or Up­per Is­land Cove.

It seems like this sort of ar­range­ment is an in­evitable one when you con­sid­er­ing the sit­u­a­tion at hand. Pool­ing re­sources in­creases the chances of get­ting at­ten­tion from other lev­els of gov­ern­ment. If you’re talk­ing about the needs of a fire pro­tec­tion ser­vice that cov­ers sev­eral com­mu­ni­ties with over 10,000 res­i­dents, that fund­ing ap­pli­ca­tion will be hard to ig­nore. In a fis­cal en­vi­ron­ment where gov­ern­ment rev­enues are not where they were ex­pected to be due to a com­mod­ity’s fal­ter­ing value, th­ese sorts of fac­tors be­come all the more rel­e­vant.

Does this sort of talk tip the hat to­wards a fur­ther re­gion­al­iza­tion of ser­vices and the even­tual ut­ter­ance of an ‘ A’ word?

Well, Clarke’s Beach Mayor Betty Moore was com­fort­able enough last week at the same meet­ing Stone at­tended to say that yes, she ex­pect some­where down the road her town will amal­ga­mate with oth­ers.

We could still be years off from that hap­pen­ing in th­ese parts, but it does seem like an in­evitable event. As the de­mo­graph­ics of towns con­tinue to change, mu­nic­i­pal lead­ers and res­i­dents may need to con­sider an ac­tion to bet­ter serve the needs of all.

Th­ese con­ver­sa­tions are nec­es­sary. Let’s keep them com­ing.

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