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LETTER: Questions remain over structural integrity of Windsor fire hall

I am writing in response to the letter the Town of Windsor's CAO, Louis Coutinho, had in the Oct. 22 edition of the Hants Journal.

Feel passionate about something you read or saw in the Journal? Concerned about a decision of council? Why not get it off your chest and write a letter to the editor.

He states the town paid rent to the fire department which helped pay down the debt incurred by the fire department. That statement is true. But anyone who rents space is helping the landlord pay down the mortgage. If the tenant wants to obtain ownership of said property, they would have to pay market value, which would not reflect the amount paid in rent over the years. Did the Town of Windsor pay market value for the building? No! They paid $1. What a deal. Sign me up for any such deal.

Coutinho states the Town of Windsor guaranteed the debenture. This is true. But this can be done by anyone who would co-sign a loan.

If the fire department defaulted on payment, then the Town of Windsor would be responsible for said loan. We know the fire department lived up to their obligation. There was a banquet held where a framed $1 bill was given to the fire service for the deed to the building. This $1 was on display at the fire station.

Coutinho also states that the WFD will continue to operate out of the building until the town desires it to do otherwise and the town can put the space to better public use. His words, not mine.

With statements like this, it is no wonder the WFD has been raising funds to build a new stand-alone station. It must be cold comfort for the fire department knowing that the town might find a better public use for their space.

Coutinho also states in the letter that “the building is built like a fort.” Does he realize that, over time, a fort can come crumbling down?

As for his statement that the structural integrity of the building is intact, I can only wonder if this statement is true.

I can remember cracks forming in the truck bay floor and supporting beams below. Water would leak through the bay floor forming puddles on the floor below. Many jack post were installed to help support the weight of the trucks above.

Coutinho has a career in administration, not engineering. Knowing this, I presume he must have read some reports regarding the building. My question to the town is this: will they release all engineering reports regarding the integrity of the section used by the WFD, especially the truck bay area and all supporting components, and the reason why so many jack post are needed?

Will the Town of Windsor release to the public the agreement between the town and the Windsor Fire Protection Company and financial reports regarding their involvement in building the Walter Stephens Building (not as a tenant)?

Will the town release financial statements regarding the amount paid for service by the WFD? Will you release the salary and related expenses paid to the fire chief? Will you release the salary or any amount of money paid to the officers of the Windsor Fire Department? (If any are paid.)

The taxpayers of the Town of Windsor have the right to know where their tax dollars are going.

Bryan Morton,

Union Corner

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