PORT CLYDE, SHELBURNE COUNTY, N.S. – A change in the delivery of fire services in the Port Clyde and Clyde River areas was explained at a public meeting on April 11 at the Port Clyde fire hall.
About 40 people, including municipal representatives, firefighters and local residents, attended the meeting, hosted by the Municipality of Barrington. Change to the delivery of fire services by the Port Clyde Volunteer Fire Department has been in the works for several years, precipitated by the dwindling number of trained volunteers.
“The discussions have always been to make sure our volunteers are safe,” said Barrington CAO Rob Frost. “We need to have training and we need to have numbers … to provide the best response times for residents.”
Through joint discussions on future fire services with the Port Clyde and Barrington/Port La Tour volunteer fire departments and also a community group over the past month, an agreement was reached that effective April 1, the Barrington Port La Tour Volunteer Fire Department “has extended their district to cover the area currently being covered by Port Clyde in Barrington Municipality,” said Frost. “So they now cover west of Clyde River.”
The Port Clyde Volunteer Fire Department was dissolved of its incorporation as of April 1 and all assets turned over to the municipality temporarily. In turn, the municipality will grant all the firefighting equipment and apparatus to the Barrington Port La Tour department. Members of the Port Clyde department have been invited to join Barrington Port La Tour and so far nine have done so, said Frost.
“With the addition of the Port Clyde members it makes Barrington Port LaTour the largest fire department in the municipality,” said Frost, adding the municipality will be working to blend the area fire rate over the next few years.
“We believe we can get the fire rate down in this area,” he said.
Frost said a lot of discussion has centred on what would happen with the Port Clyde fire hall. For now, the fire hall has been temporality transferred to the Municipality of Barrington, but talks are ongoing with a community group in the area who are interested in taking over the hall as a non-profit society, said Frost. In the event the hall is granted to a community group, there will be a provision in the agreement that the fire department can rent the truck bays in the building for a three-year term to keep fire response vehicles in the hall for that period, said Frost. The need for the sub-station will be assessed during that time.
“So it’s been agreed fire trucks will remain in the building to provide fire coverage for this area,” said Frost. Firefighters in the local community “will be able to continue to respond from Port Clyde as members of the Barrington Port LaTour department,” he said.
EAST OF THE CLYDE
With the incorporation of the Port Clyde department dissolved, gone is an agreement to provide fire services to the Clyde River area in the Municipality of Shelburne.
For now, the decision has been made by Shelburne municipal council to have the Shelburne Volunteer Fire Department provide temporary coverage to the Municipality of Shelburne’s portion of the Port Clyde fire district, said a letter read at the meeting, making the Clyde River the boundary line for the fire districts.
“It is anticipated a permanent decision regarding fire coverage in that area will be made by May.”
Ken Smith, interim CAO for the Municipality of Shelburne, was in attendance at the meeting.
“One of the reasons I’m here tonight is we want to hear concerns,” he said.
Shelburne fire chief Darrell Locke was also in attendance. Fire service coverage in the Clyde area of the Municipality of Shelburne has been ongoing for some time too. Locke said at a meeting last year, there was a general agreement that Harbour Fire Department would cover Shore Road to Highway 103, then west to the Clyde Bridge, as well as the cross-road area.
“Since that time Harbour has had a change of heart and is not interested in taking that piece,” said Locke, adding there are hopes to further define clearer boundaries in the Clyde River area during the decision-making process for a permanent agreement.
The full report on the provision of fire services in the Port Clyde area, as well as contact information for both municipal units, is available on the Municipality of Barrington’s website.