After an outcry, the municipality reverses its decision to close the Nova Scotia Rural Fire Service – Halifax

The County Municipality of Kings has reversed its decision to close the Greenwich Fire Department following an outcry from volunteers working at the service and the public served by it.

In a statement late Thursday, the municipality said councilors met in special session that day and voted in favor of a motion to put the proposed merger of the Greenwich and Wolfville fire districts on hold, which was to take place on April 1.

“Mayor Peter Muttart said City Council has heard from the public and, therefore, has decided to reverse its decision,” the statement read.

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The controversial decision to close the fire department and transfer its services to the Wolfville department was made during a closed session of Kings County Municipal Council on February 22.

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The council, along with that of the town of Wolfville, had jointly formalized an agreement with the Greenwich Fire Commission – which is separate from the county – to merge the two districts following a survey of area fire departments which examined potential overlaps and opportunities for improvement.

However, the choice drew criticism from the department’s fire chief, who said the department participated in the study but was not informed of its findings until a decision was already made.

He also criticized that the decision was made behind closed doors, without consulting the public or the ministry.

The Greenwich Fire Department has been in operation since the 1930s.

Greenwich Fire Department/Facebook

The department had recently hired a lawyer and filed an application for judicial review of the decision with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.

After the department went public with its grievances about the decision, the municipality held two sessions where the public could weigh in, and a prevailing theme was that the fire station should stay open until a new fire station was built. replacement is built and operational.

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The statement said the municipality will “relaunch the process” and that future decisions will require the consent of the Greenwich Fire Commission, the town of Wolfville and other parties to its fire services agreement.

In a statement, Greenwich Fire Chief Jason Ripley said members of the fire department were “pleased with the decision” but were disappointed the department was not named as a stakeholder in the framework. of the motion.

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“We believe that any future discussion of a new fire station for both districts must include both fire departments to ensure that the talents of volunteers from both stations can be harnessed to provide the best possible service to the region,” said said Ripley.

“We look forward to working with all parties in the future to find common ground and solutions.”

The statement also said that several counselors claimed to have received threats of violence in the past two weeks, and that the department was unaware of these threats.

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms any threat of violence against anyone. No elected official should ever be subjected to threats or acts of violence, this behavior is simply unacceptable,” Ripley said in the statement. “If the allegations are true, we hope those responsible will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

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The statement said the fire department will consult with counsel “to determine appropriate next steps regarding the legal action filed in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.”

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