Area residents will soon know if West Hants would benefit by having their own fire station to service the area currently protected by Windsor firefighters.
Last year, West Hants CAO Cheryl Chislett told the Journal that the municipality hired a fire services co-ordinator to work 20 hours a week, at $30 an hour, for one year to complete a report that would detail how much it would cost for the municipality to build a new fire station to cover the area of West Hants serviced by Windsor’s department.
That report is ready.
West Hants council is hosting a special committee of the whole meeting Jan. 29 at 6 p.m. in council chambers to hear the report.
“Basically this report will be a comparison of how things are done today. Are we getting a good deal or a bad deal, once we price it out?” said Warden Richard Dauphinee during council’s regular monthly meeting Jan. 8.
The objective of the report is to determine what would be most cost-effective for the municipality. The report may show continuing to lease the services of the Windsor Fire Department as having the best bang for the buck, or it may show investing in a fire department owned by the municipality is the best option.
The report hasn’t been without controversy, as rumours have been circulating throughout Hants County about the municipality’s intentions.
During the Jan. 8 meeting, both the warden and CAO made it clear the report was intended to provide council with insight into the financial aspect of providing fire services to the municipality.
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“Contrary to rumour that’s out there, this is not, to me, related to the Windsor Fire Department,” she said, noting it’s just a way to compare the cost of fire service options.
“This has been labeled in the Journal, and newscasts, and everything, that it’s a study. It’s not a study. We’re comparing apples with apples, we hope, and at the end of the day, we’ll know what we’re paying and what we’ll pay in the future,” Dauphinee said.
“In all honesty, I don’t think this will be the only thing that we’ll be looking at (with) the way things are going,” he said, highlighting the recent business closures and financial hardships area residents have been facing.
“Subdivisions that were being built aren’t being built; they’re just on standstill. Things aren’t happening and businesses are closing and that has a domino effect,” he said.
“We’ve seen some pretty sad situations so I think that… our job right now is going to be to concentrate on how we do the best job for our residents to keep things in line just to get through this.”
The Jan. 29 meeting is open to the general public.