Brooke-Alvinston discusses merger of Inwood and Alvinston fire departments

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A request for a new fire rescue truck for the Inwood Fire Department lead to a heated discussion about the possibility of merging two departments.

Brooke-Alvinston’s Treasurer Administrator kickstarted the conversation at the municipality’s meeting on May 8 when he suggested that the fire departments in Alvinston and Inwood should consider working more closely together when it comes to vehicles and equipment, perhaps even to the point of rolling the two departments into one.

“I’m going to say something that is not very popular,” said Rick Holland.  “You’re coming down to crunch time (financially) and you really have to look at this.”

Holland’s comment came after Inwood Fire Chief Don McCabe had made a presentation to council asking for consideration to go to tender to purchase a new rescue vehicle valued at about $264,000 less taxes.

Council was told that the existing vehicle which came into service in 1990 had exceeded in life and would no longer pass a safety check.

“That really bothers me a lot,” said Councillor Frank Nemcek.  “We can’t have people riding around in trucks that are not safe.”

Inwood Fire Chief Don McCabe told council the new vehicle is necessary to provide the response times that the department has been asked to provide.

The municipality will approach the Ontario Strategic Infrastructure Financing Authority, the former Infrastructure Ontario, to determine if they might qualify for funding to help with the purchase of the vehicle.

“If not, the purchase could be debentured,” said Mayor Don McGugan.  “We’ve tried not to do that, but that doesn’t mean we can’t look at it.”

In the end, council deferred a decision until budget time.

“You have no money,” said Holland, noting that the Inwood fire reserve of just under $64,000 falls well short of the overall purchase price.

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