OP-ED: Simple solution to HRFE/Enfield Fire agreement issue

The Laker News logo as created by Liane Rogers. (Healey photo)

The following has been submitted by Darrell MacLean

It seems Halifax Fire is trying to nickel and dime their $76-million-dollar budget, in which one item is them looking to cut funding to smaller Volunteer station’s mutual aid agreements. These small volunteer FD’s that cover and, in this case, respond as the 1st due unit to parts of the HRM area.

Halifax Fire pays Enfield FD $40,000 a year and lets them use Halifax’s dispatching services. In return, Enfield FD responds to a fair size area of HRM that Halifax Fire cannot get to in the allotted response times to meet responses targets set forth by HRM Council (response target times that were given to council and approved by council by the HRFE Fire Chief). Since Halifax Fire cannot hit these response time targets using only Halifax Fire’s resources, this is where Enfield FD comes into play.

Some current information being shared by Halifax Fire is not correct and other info is being manipulated by HRFE management to make it seem like this is not a big deal.

Guess what – this is beyond a big deal! Enfield FD plays a crucial role in protecting parts of HRM.

If the current mutual aid contract between HRFE/Enfield does not get worked out and Enfield does not respond as the first in unit, here are some things to consider.

-The closest/fastest Fire Department will not be the one that is coming to help when time is ultimately crucial. A normal response from Enfield that is 8-10 mins could turn into 20 mins from HRFE quick.

-Businesses within HRM that Enfield is currently 1st due in for – iInsurance rates will go up

-Residential homes within HRM the Enfield is currently 1st due in for – insurance rates will go up

-HRM Residents as a whole – guess what – tax increase. Money must come from somewhere for below listed items

-HRFE will have to build a new fire station either around Exit 5A or in Oakfield – Est cost – $ 5-6 million

-HRFE will have to purchase new trucks for this station – Est cost – $ 1.5 million

-HRFE will have to hire more staff for this station – 20 members – Est cost – $ 2.2 million

-HRFE ongoing maintenance/Supplies and operations of the new station – Est. cost – $ 250,000/year

Residents should be upset and concerned by this nonsense. This nonsense that seems like HRFE with a huge multimillion dollar budget is trying to bully a smaller non-HRM Fire department that is only here to help our residents of HRM when needed.

Residents need to start asking their elected Councilors and their elected Mayor as to why a system that currently works with no issues is going to go from costing taxpayers $40K a year to an est. $10 Million initially and $2.5 million annually after.

Makes sense, right? Not to anyone that actually looks at this.

Simple solution – leave it alone, stop trying to bully a small volunteer FD and pay the $40k/year.

  • Darrell MacLean, Oakfield.