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Christmas gift for Port aux Basques

Volunteer fire department receives new rescue vehicle

Representatives from the Town of Channel-Port aux Basques, the province and the Channel-Port aux Basques Volunteer Fire Department attended a brief meeting on Friday, December 15 to hear MHA Andrew Parsons (7th from left) announce the new fire rescue vehicle. — © Rosalyn Roy / Wreckhouse Press Inc.

By Rosalyn Roy Senior Staff Reporter PORT AUX BASQUES — Fire Chief Jerry Musseau called it a ‘beautiful Christmas present’. On Friday, December 15, town and provincial officials along with members of the Channel-Port aux Basques Volunteer Fire Department learned that the detachment has been awarded a new rescue vehicle. MHA Andrew Parsons (Burgeo – La Poile) made the official announcement at the town hall Friday afternoon. “I just wanted to let you know that myself and Brian (Mayor Button) got a letter here just this week. After weeks and months of nagging and nagging and begging and threatening and everything else, I’ll read this here. Now, I’m pleased to confirm that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has approved funding for Channel-Port aux Basques town council for the purchase of a new firefighting vehicle, with an estimated project cost of $450,000. So this is your new rescue vehicle that you’re getting. Well, that’s the generic version. So congratulations, you’re getting your rescue vehicle. And I can tell you now that Brian and them (council) were down there on Monday and Tuesday (St. John’s), and we had about eight meetings. And in every meeting we mentioned that there’s a new fire hall that needs to come next.” This new unit will replace the one that’s currently in service, which is 26 years old. The detachment also got a new pumper truck in December 2020, which replaced its previous 30-year-old pumper. Older vehicles are harder and more expensive to maintain, largely because replacement parts are harder to come by. “I’m certainly glad that you were able to make this work for the fire department because a vehicle that is 26 years old now is hard to get parts for, plus it can’t really carry the equipment that we need to respond to an emergency. We’ve got to use two vehicles now to carry equipment that should be carried in one,” said Musseau to Parsons shortly afterwards. “Appreciate that you were able to pull this through, and your hard work, and thank you very much.” As with the pumper truck, the province and the town will split the cost of this new vehicle under a 70/30 split. Therefore the town will have pay about $135,000 and the province will pick up the remainder of the price tag, which is $315,000. Next the town will issue an RFP (Request for Proposals), or a tender, in order to find a vendor or manufacturer to order the truck, and then they can figure out the design and other minutiae that will be required to ensure the unit is capable of doing what the department requires. “The first part now is actually getting it made,” said Parsons. That part alone will likely take some time. “Probably going to be very difficult getting a chassis. You probably might be a year getting a chassis. I wouldn’t be surprised,” said Musseau. The unit is being awarded to the Port aux Basques detachment, but Musseau said it will be used for more than just the town. “I guess this is more of a regional unit, because we respond to highway accidents from Rose Blanche to Codroy Pond.” The sentiment was echoed by Parsons. “It’s a team effort, so the town and the fire department, and then we (provincial government) came in on top of everything else and everything comes together, but the biggest strength that they have is that it’s not one community. They’re doing work for everywhere, right? So it just makes sense.” Mayor Button was also on hand for the announcement. “At least now we can move forward.” As for the unit being replaced, once it is retired from the department it may be re-purposed, or even sent to another community. “That part we haven’t even discussed,” said Button.

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