Towns follow Amherst lead

Darrell Cole
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Springhill, Oxford, Parrsboro to pull fire services from county

AMHERST - Cumberland County's other three towns are following Amherst's lead and withdrawing fire protection services to the Municipality of Cumberland.
Springhill, Oxford and Parrsboro all announced Thursday their intentions to pull fire protection services from the county beginning July 1, 2008.
Oxford will join Amherst in pulling its service on July 1 while Springhill is also investigating withdrawing service on the same date. Parrsboro will continue its service until the end of 2008.
"All four towns have now provided formal notice to the county that they will be withdrawing the provision of fire protection services to areas of the county currently being protected by their respective fire departments," representatives from the four towns said in a joint statement.
The mayors, chief administrative officers and fire chiefs from Amherst, Springhill, Oxford and Parrsboro met in Springhill on Thursday to discuss negotiations with the Municipality of Cumberland.
All four towns had been attempting to negotiate new fire service agreements with the county over the last three years. They decided to join forces to negotiate a common agreement with the county and on Nov. 1 submitted a cost-sharing proposal based on assessment, population, number of dwellings, kilometers of roads and number of calls.
The county sent back a counter-proposal on Nov. 29 basing its funding on what it provides its rural departments.
Funding would drop from the present $211,790 to $123,946 for the four towns.
County Warden Keith Hunter said his municipality is still willing to negotiate with the smaller towns, but feels the county and Amherst are simply too far apart to go back to the table.
"It would be a shame that we have to build our own fire departments and duplicate services with those three towns if they are that close to what we offer and they don't want to negotiate," the warden said.
Hunter said the county is not attempting to divide and conquer by negotiating individual deals as suggested by the four towns.
"It's not divide and conquer, all we want to come up with is are agreements with the three towns. If they don't want to come up with an agreement they're doing a disservice to their taxpayers," Hunter said. "With Amherst, it's just a business decision. We can't afford the amount they're requesting."
The four mayors are also reminding the county that mutual aid agreements between the rural departments and the towns are only for major fires and emergency and can't be used for routine firefighting calls.
As well, the towns will no longer be providing first responder service to areas of the Trans-Canada Highway and secondary roads not passing through their respective communities.

Organizations: Trans-Canada Highway

Geographic location: Amherst, Oxford, Parrsboro Cumberland County

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Recent comments

  • Robert
    January 18, 2010 - 11:13

    Duplication of services and wasting money would be a shame, but really nothing new in politics. What will really be a shame is the senseless and totally preventable loss of property and perhaps even lives. Municipal and county elections will be held in October...let's hope nothing too terrible or too silly happens between now and then.

  • C.
    January 18, 2010 - 11:06

    how long does it take amherst attend a fire in Fenwick? The ones they catch on the highway are cost billed back to the insurance company - which makes sense.

    Both sides need to compromise, but stubborn men who need to save face and see who can pee the farthest --nobody is going to win.

    municipal elections ... hmmmm

  • Bill
    January 18, 2010 - 10:48

    Check out Ebay, there's a fire truck for sale for $860.

    Now the county can have their own truck!


  • Ray
    January 18, 2010 - 10:37

    The county should inform the tax payers of the respones time they will have, and which dept will be covering them.You take until they build a new station, in Nappan you have truemanville who is about 20 min from the hosiptal, you have Liecester who is about 20 min from the hosiptal, or you have River Hebert who is about 25 min from the hosiptal. this is all on good days, So tell me what the response is going to be. That makes me wounder do I need more home insurance. I hope they can provide the same response time as Amherst or the other towns.

  • Bill
    January 18, 2010 - 10:32

    Wait till folks in the county get their new home insurance policy - if their insurance company will continue to insure them for house fires.

    Watch the sale of homes in the county dry up because the prospective new owners don't want to take the risk of lack of a fire department service.

    Then watch some burned out resident take the County to court and sue for failure to provide an essential service.

    A can of worms no matter how you look at it.