© Ashley Thompson
MLA Chuck Porter wants some answers.
The county's local MLA is calling on the provincial government to intervene in the case of a council decision that’s sparked much public debate.
Hants West MLA Chuck Porter has requested that Municipal Affairs Minister Mark Furey appoint a professional mediator to tackle the longstanding contract dispute between the Windsor Fire Department (WFD) and the Municipality of West Hants.
“I really think that’s all the hope we have left, unfortunately,” said Porter.
On May 13, West Hants council voted 6-3 in favour creating a stand-alone fire service for the areas currently covered by the WFD.
Several residents have since spoke out in opposition of council’s decision to end its partnership with the WFD, many of whom are concerned the construction of a new West Hants fire station will result in an increase in taxes and insurance rates.
Porter, who has spoken with Windsor Fire Chief Scott Burgess and West Hants Warden Richard Dauphinee since the council decision, believes there is still a chance the two parties may come back to the table if the provincial government offers assistance.
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“Something has to be done to try and resolve this. If there’s still an opportunity there, we have to see it through,” he said.
Porter said he offered to ask the provincial government to step in about a year ago, but neither party involved in the negotiations felt that step was necessary at that time.
Feeling the parties may be more open to the offer now, Porter said he’s once again asking the province to offer assistance in response to concerns raised by numerous constituents who have contacted him by phone, e-mail and in person.
“I think it is worthy of trying,” said Porter.
He is urging citizens with strong opinions about council’s decision to part ways with the Windsor Fire Department to write Furey, Premier Stephen McNeil and their local councillors to share their views.
“It doesn’t matter where I’ve gone in the last four or five days, certainly everyone is talking about this.”
Furey was unavailable for comment as of press time. His response will be added at a later date. Stay tuned.