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King’s community group discusses options for funding Hantsport Fire Department


HANTS BORDER - The Hants Border Community Hall was nearly packed with residents Aug. 17.

They were gathered to find our more information on fire protection and a possible area rate to pay for some of the capital costs of the Hantsport Fire Department. 

Liv David, an organizer of a community-run committee tasked with fact-finding on the issue, read a report to the residents and took questions.

“We started out by thanking the Hantsport Fire Department for all of their hard work,” David said. “This is a political issue, it’s not a reflection of whether we do or do not support the fire department. Everybody here supports our hardworking fire department.”

Residents had previously voted no to a proposed area rate, saying they wanted to ensure the rate they’re paying was reasonable.

Some residents also said they were concerned that funds raised through the area rate would pay for equipment and vehicles destined for other parts of West Hants, especially since the falling out between the municipality and the Windsor Fire Department.

David said she was happy with the number of people who turned up at the meeting.

“Our councillor reached out to our committee, they asked how they could help,” she said. “At the end of the day, they provided us with the most amount of information they could. We did find some things ourselves, including the agreement with Glooscap, and getting this information was like finding a needle in a haystack.”

‘Stonewalled’

David said the committee was “stonewalled” when trying to ascertain the call volumes for King’s County covered by Hantsport.

“All we wanted was the raw data so we could see for ourselves, that we represent 45 per cent of the calls,” she said. “Maybe we are, but we couldn’t get that information.”

David said the committee is nearly done its role, but we will remain in contact on the file to ensure things continue to move forward and more information comes out.

“If, in a month from now, we haven’t heard any information, we will be on the phone, we will be emailing, and encouraging the rest of the community to do so,” she said.

The next meeting is tentatively planned for sometime in September or October at LE Shaw Elementary School in Avonport, which will be lead by King’s County to explain staff findings and possible options.

“There is no actual consensus on what should be done next,” David said. “Some people feel there should be no area rate, some think there should be one. I would say the majority of the community is in favour of an area rate as long as the numbers are transparent and fair.”

Concern over fire conflict

David and others gathered at the meeting said this issue is a result of the conflict between West Hants and the Windsor Fire Department.

Since the service agreement between the WFD and West Hants ended, West Hants has had to expand the scope of its existing fire stations, including Hantsport, to cover the area previously covered by Windsor.

David said few people in East Kings believe they are responsible for 50 per cent of the call volume of the Hantsport Fire Department, which has an area that encompasses Falmouth, Mt. Denson and other surrounding communities.

“A sub-station (of the Wolfville Fire Department) is certainly an option. If Hantsport told us tomorrow that they were no longer serving us, we would have no other option,” she said. “I don’t think that would be in the best interest of the community at large.”

District 5 Coun. Mike Ennis said he was happy to provide information for the committee so that residents were aware of what’s going on.

“We’re investigating some of the issues raised, the concerns brought forward by the residents of this area and when we have all of the answers, we’ll come back,” Ennis said.

“We’ll notify all of the residents in the area and hold a meeting at the school in Avonport and at that point in time, I’m sure we’ll be given direction by those present.”

Ennis said the upcoming elections in October are “going to factor into this.”

“The committee here have been really busy and have done a good job, it’s a good example of engaging the public and finding out what they want,” he said. “We’ll take our marching orders from the public at the next meeting.”

Looking at options

Two options that were discussed during the meeting included establishing an agreement with West Hants, which could include an area rate, or building a new substation of the Wolfville Fire Department somewhere in the area.

“The Hantsport Fire Department is best situated to give a service to this area,” he said. “It would cost a lot to build a substation, you need the equipment and also you have to find the volunteers to staff it, which is often easier said than done.”

David Mcleod, a resident of Kings County, said he’s glad that the issue is staying front and centre.

“All-in-all, I’m heartened that they’re taking this seriously, that nobody is trying to fluff this off as a bunch of grumpy residents in Eastern King’s County,” Mcleod said. “Hopefully in a month or two, we’ll be presented with a choice of which way to go. Right now, my feeling would be a substation (of Wolfville. I think there’s too much mistrust with the other municipality (West Hants).”

They were gathered to find our more information on fire protection and a possible area rate to pay for some of the capital costs of the Hantsport Fire Department. 

Liv David, an organizer of a community-run committee tasked with fact-finding on the issue, read a report to the residents and took questions.

“We started out by thanking the Hantsport Fire Department for all of their hard work,” David said. “This is a political issue, it’s not a reflection of whether we do or do not support the fire department. Everybody here supports our hardworking fire department.”

Residents had previously voted no to a proposed area rate, saying they wanted to ensure the rate they’re paying was reasonable.

Some residents also said they were concerned that funds raised through the area rate would pay for equipment and vehicles destined for other parts of West Hants, especially since the falling out between the municipality and the Windsor Fire Department.

David said she was happy with the number of people who turned up at the meeting.

“Our councillor reached out to our committee, they asked how they could help,” she said. “At the end of the day, they provided us with the most amount of information they could. We did find some things ourselves, including the agreement with Glooscap, and getting this information was like finding a needle in a haystack.”

‘Stonewalled’

David said the committee was “stonewalled” when trying to ascertain the call volumes for King’s County covered by Hantsport.

“All we wanted was the raw data so we could see for ourselves, that we represent 45 per cent of the calls,” she said. “Maybe we are, but we couldn’t get that information.”

David said the committee is nearly done its role, but we will remain in contact on the file to ensure things continue to move forward and more information comes out.

“If, in a month from now, we haven’t heard any information, we will be on the phone, we will be emailing, and encouraging the rest of the community to do so,” she said.

The next meeting is tentatively planned for sometime in September or October at LE Shaw Elementary School in Avonport, which will be lead by King’s County to explain staff findings and possible options.

“There is no actual consensus on what should be done next,” David said. “Some people feel there should be no area rate, some think there should be one. I would say the majority of the community is in favour of an area rate as long as the numbers are transparent and fair.”

Concern over fire conflict

David and others gathered at the meeting said this issue is a result of the conflict between West Hants and the Windsor Fire Department.

Since the service agreement between the WFD and West Hants ended, West Hants has had to expand the scope of its existing fire stations, including Hantsport, to cover the area previously covered by Windsor.

David said few people in East Kings believe they are responsible for 50 per cent of the call volume of the Hantsport Fire Department, which has an area that encompasses Falmouth, Mt. Denson and other surrounding communities.

“A sub-station (of the Wolfville Fire Department) is certainly an option. If Hantsport told us tomorrow that they were no longer serving us, we would have no other option,” she said. “I don’t think that would be in the best interest of the community at large.”

District 5 Coun. Mike Ennis said he was happy to provide information for the committee so that residents were aware of what’s going on.

“We’re investigating some of the issues raised, the concerns brought forward by the residents of this area and when we have all of the answers, we’ll come back,” Ennis said.

“We’ll notify all of the residents in the area and hold a meeting at the school in Avonport and at that point in time, I’m sure we’ll be given direction by those present.”

Ennis said the upcoming elections in October are “going to factor into this.”

“The committee here have been really busy and have done a good job, it’s a good example of engaging the public and finding out what they want,” he said. “We’ll take our marching orders from the public at the next meeting.”

Looking at options

Two options that were discussed during the meeting included establishing an agreement with West Hants, which could include an area rate, or building a new substation of the Wolfville Fire Department somewhere in the area.

“The Hantsport Fire Department is best situated to give a service to this area,” he said. “It would cost a lot to build a substation, you need the equipment and also you have to find the volunteers to staff it, which is often easier said than done.”

David Mcleod, a resident of Kings County, said he’s glad that the issue is staying front and centre.

“All-in-all, I’m heartened that they’re taking this seriously, that nobody is trying to fluff this off as a bunch of grumpy residents in Eastern King’s County,” Mcleod said. “Hopefully in a month or two, we’ll be presented with a choice of which way to go. Right now, my feeling would be a substation (of Wolfville. I think there’s too much mistrust with the other municipality (West Hants).”

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