Nova Scotia

West Hants votes to prepare for new fire service

After a lengthy dispute over payment for fire service, the Municipality of West Hants has voted to move forward with plans for developing new fire coverage after failing to strike a deal with the town of Windsor fire department.

Municipality of West Hants moving forward with plans for new fire service coverage

West Hants municipal council has voted to prepare for a new fire service effective Oct. 23, according to a statement released on Tuesday. (CBC)

West Hants municipal council has voted to prepare for a new fire service effective Oct. 23, according to a statement released on Tuesday.

By that date, the Windsor Fire Department says it will no longer provide coverage to communities outside the town of Windsor.

"We have been trying to resolve this issue for many years," said West Hants Municipality CAO Cathie Osborne in the release.

"Council agreed it is time we put this behind us and focus on putting short and long term plans in place to ensure residents of West Hants continue to receive fire services."

The release said those long-term plans include locating a substation within the Municipality, purchasing new equipment as well as recruiting and training volunteer firefighters.

"Our contingency planning looked at many of these issues last year, so we've already got a fair bit of work completed," said Osborne.

"We are confident that we can provide service by Oct. 23 so residents can continue to expect timely and professional service."

Nursing home worries

The operator of a Falmouth nursing home is concerned with the changes to fire service in the area.

The Windsor Elms Village houses just over 100 residents and has been in the community for close to 50 years.

"We will not settle with a level of fire service any less than the current level of service provided by the Windsor Fire Department," wrote CEO Sherry Keen in an e-mailed statement to CBC News.

The disagreements over payments for fire service in the area have been simmering for a while.

The two parties entered into mediation in August 2014 and a mediator's report was delivered to the municipality and the fire department last month.

The warden for the municipality acknowledged the Windsor firefighters who have been providing service to surrounding communities like Martock, Falmouth and Brooklyn for the last 60 years.

"Despite our organizational differences, these volunteers have served the residents of West Hants well," said West Hants Warden Richard Dauphinee.

"We appreciate and value their professionalism."


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