CORNER BROOK — A new fire truck in Cox’s Cove could be a live saving investment, according to Hughie Noseworthy.
The approval of funding announced Thursday by Municipal Affairs Minister Kevin O’Brien in the coastal town on the north shore of the Bay of Islands was a longtime coming for the many firefighters and firettes who gathered at the fire hall. However, the secretary was quick to say he hopes it is even longer before firefighters find out just how life-saving the truck can be.
“To me, this is a big day for Cox’s Cove,” Noseworthy said. “She will be well used. We gets a few calls, like chimney fires — not too many house fires, thank God.”
Noseworthy said the department is an asset to the town.
“We are well staffed, and well equipped now,” he said. “With the new truck, we will be very well equipped.
“The people of Cox’s Cove will sleep safer.”
The fire and emergency response vehicle valued at $240,000 is a 90/10 per cent cost-shared investment by the provincial government and the town. It is replacing a 1983 truck that has outlasted its use, according to the fire department members. Replacements parts for the old truck are not even available anymore.
The new vehicle is a self-contained truck and pumping apparatus, with a 1,050 gallon per minute pumping capability.
O’Brien said it is an investment in volunteer firefighting. He praised the capabilities of the small town department in Cox’s Cove.
“Being from Gander, I took fire services for granted,” he said. “Never did I ever think about all the training that had to go into being a volunteer firefighter, all the hours you have to take away from your family to be in the fire hall, but also putting your own life at risk when you respond to an event.”
As a minister responsible for fire and emergency services, his complacent attitude has changed with the awareness he acquired.
O’Brien also said it is an investment in rural Newfoundland — something he says the Conservative government has been accused of ignoring.
“That is absolutely untrue,” he said.
“It is another reason why I am here. Rural Newfoundland and Labrador is still thriving and still healthy, and will be here long after all of us here.”
O’Brien also acknowledged the effort of Bay of Islands Liberal MHA Eddie Joyce, who was in attendance, in lobbying on behalf of his constituents and making him aware of the need for the truck.
The Opposition Municipal Affairs critic said he began working, on behalf of the fire department and town, to get government to approve the funding in 2011. He said the minister was receptive to the plea from the beginning.
“I have to give the firefighters credit,” Joyce said. “Over the last year and a half, when I saw the boys, they would ask about the fire truck.
‘They are working on it. They are working on it.’
“Not once did one fireman come up and say they are not going to get it.”
The truck is expected to be delivered in the summer or fall of 2014.