MP’S battle to retain communication operation centre in Truro continues
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e RCMP currently has one communication centre in Dartmouth and another in Truro, in an outdated, former RCMP headquarters.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.”