MP’S bat­tle to re­tain com­mu­ni­ca­tion op­er­a­tion cen­tre in Truro con­tin­ues

Truro Daily News - - COLCHESTER COUNTY - BY HARRY SUL­LI­VAN

Cum­ber­land Colch­ester MP Bill Casey says he’s “en­cour­aged” fol­low­ing a meet­ing with the fed­eral au­di­tor gen­eral’s o ce re­gard­ing a pro­posal for a new provin­cial emer­gency dis­patch cen­tre.

Casey is op­posed to a pro­posal by the RCMP to con­sol­i­date their Op­er­a­tional Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Cen­ter (OCC) in Dart­mouth.

e RCMP cur­rently has one com­mu­ni­ca­tion cen­tre in Dart­mouth and an­other in Truro, in an out­dated, for­mer RCMP head­quar­ters. And Casey said that 100-km dis­tance pro­vides the geo­graphic dis­tance rec­om­mended in the pre­vi­ous re­ports in or­der to en­sure that at least one fa­cil­ity is al­ways op­er­a­tional.

“We did meet with the aud- itor gen­eral’s o cials and went through the ma­te­ri­als in­clud­ing the emer­gency com­mu­ni­ca­tions guide­line man­u­als,” he said. “In the end, they said that there were some as­pects of this is­sue that caused them con­cern and that they would be seek­ing an­swers from the RCMP.”

Casey said he ex­pects to hear back from the AG’S o ce af­ter Christ­mas to com­mu­ni­cate what their next steps will be.

Mean­while, Casey added he has also re­ceived an in­terim up­date to a pre­vi­ous com­plaint he made to the Ac­cess to In­for­ma­tion Com­mis­sion­ers O ce.

“ ey are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the fact that I was sup­plied wrong in­for­ma­tion and a re­port with all of the per­ti­nent de­tails erased,” he said. “ ey in­di­cated to me that the RCMP are not col­lab­o­rat­ing with them in this in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

He said ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion o cials will be tak­ing ad­di­tional steps to get the RCMP’S at­ten­tion. But their ini­tial opin­ion is that most or all of the in­for­ma­tion with­held from him should not have been erased.

“I am en­cour­aged that they are tak­ing this se­ri­ously.”

Casey said there are four re­ports avail­able that state the num­ber one es­sen­tial safety cri­te­ria for emer­gency com­mu­ni­ca­tions is a geo­graphic sep­a­ra­tion be­tween com­mu­ni­ca­tion fa­cil­i­ties.

e very rea­son the RCMP com­mu­ni­ca­tion fa­cil­ity was lo­cated in Truro was be­cause of the 100-km sep­a­ra­tion be­tween it and the other cen­tre in Dart­mouth.

But the RCMP’S pro­posal is to elim­i­nate that geo­graphic sep­a­ra­tion and con­cen­trate both of Nova Sco­tia’s main emer­gency com­mu­ni­ca­tion cen­tres in the same com­mu­nity, Casey said. “ is ies in the face of stan­dards set by the Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency (FEMA), the Na­tional Emer­gency Num­ber As­so­ci­a­tion (NENA), the Na­tional Fire Pro­tec­tion As­so­ci­a­tion (NFPA) and es­pe­cially the RCMP’S own 2004 re­port.”

That RCMP re­port, he said, states in sev­eral places that the com­mu­ni­ca­tion cen­tre should not be moved to the Hal­i­fax re­gion.

“All of those ref­er­ences were erased from the copy be­fore it was sent me,” he said. “Hence the com­plaint.”

Casey

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