July 28, 2015 Liverpool, NS: Working together on an innovative approach, the culmination of four years of co-operative effort between the six fire departments in Queens County and the Region of Queens Municipality was presented to Council today. Recognizing the vital role our volunteer Fire Departments play in providing essential protection services for the safety and security of our communities, a ground-breaking collaborative spirit has resulted in a policy to provide a framework for financial assistance for the purchase of essential vehicles and with ongoing operational costs over years to come.
“The days of fire departments being able to sustain themselves with their own fundraising efforts alone are long gone. It would take an inordinate amount of community suppers and bottle drives to replace a fire truck”, commented Mayor Christopher Clarke. “We were very impressed with the way the fire departments came forward with a constructive and well-considered solution to their issues, and the commitment and enthusiasm they have shown throughout this process”.
These issues were presented to Council back in January 2011 where the fire departments described what they felt were impediments to the maintenance of current fire protection levels.
Following this, $67,000 was approved in the 2011/12 budget to increase fire protection funding, followed by a three-year initiative to conduct external reviews on the financial operations of all six fire departments, which resulted in the two main considerations which form the backbone of the new policy: that the fire departments could not sustain the purchase of vehicles with the existing resources and that any recommended solution had to be financially viable for the Region of Queens.
Port Medway Fire Chief, Kendall Farmer said, “I am very appreciative of the time and effort put into this by the staff and Council of the Region of Queens, as well as the collaboration from the six Fire Chiefs to bring it all to fruition. This much needed funding means adequate fire equipment can be provided to the fire departments, which in turn leads to the protection of the residents of Queens County”. After many months of working together, the resulting policy contains a process which all the fire departments agree relieves some of the financial uncertainties and provides motivation for the volunteers to continue in their courageous work.