West Hants withdraws from shared fire services
Windsor mayor says new fire department will be redundant, calls move 'disgraceful'
The mayor of Windsor has some harsh words for a neighbouring municipality that’s withdrawing from a longstanding deal to share the cost of fire services.
This week the municipality of West Hants voted to end its 60-year agreement with Windsor to share fire services.
West Hants Warden Richard Dauphine said the issue is accountability.
“We’ve just come up against a wall and everybody is frustrated.”
He said he can't get receipts for expenditures from Windsor. The county has withheld its annual contribution for two years.
Now West Hants intends to start its own fire department with new equipment and one or two new stations just outside town.
“It'll be millions of dollars that’s for sure,” said Dauphine. “When you’re paying $500,000 a year for operations and capital and work it out over a 20-year period you’ll see where we stand.”
Windsor Mayor Paul Beazley is not impressed.
“To me quite frankly it’s disgraceful,” he said. “It’s not necessary. There would be a tremendous amount of redundancy.”
Windsor Fire Chief Scott Burgess said there is no justification for the withdrawal.
“Our financials are audited. Our operations are monitored and looked at. We’ve never had a lawsuit claim against us,” he said. “We’ve done nothing wrong that we can see.”
West Hants is now investigating whether recent changes by the Harper government will allow it to use gas tax money to cover the cost of starting it's own fire service.