Town cuts fire hall coverage

by Vance Gutzman

Deep River has ordered its remaining firefighters to be placed on day shift from Monday to Friday, while taking steps to implement a call-out system after hours and on weekends. 

That was one of the directives that came out of a special council meeting last week which took on a decidedly ugly note at times.

The directive was passed by council by way of resolution following last week’s revelation that reduced staffing has meant the town’s fire hall is not being covered 24/7.

Council also passed a resolution calling on Atomic Energy of Canada Limited and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories to be asked for assistance relating to fire training services for Deep River’s fire fighters.

All of that was prefaced by a deputation from local resident Leo Buckley, as well as an update on the town’s fire service from Fire Chief Rob Shaw.

“It is my opinion that all the efforts by the town to impose their preferred solution have been unsuccessful,” Buckley stated to council.

“How does effectively laying off firefighters help us broach the rift that has been publicly apparent between the town and the fire fighters over the years?

“How does this action improve the relationship with our fire fighters?”

As previously reported, Chief Shaw has stated that the town, during its recent extended arbitration process, hired temporary contract firefighters to backfill for members of the fire service on extended sick leave and retirements.

Two of those contracts expired July 6.

“The town chose to unilaterally reduce the staffing complement it has agreed to maintain by terminating probationary firefighters,” Buckley stated.

“Why does the town continually fail to acknowledge its own contribution to this situation?

“When can the residents of town expect council to demonstrate some genuine leadership to start to resolve this issue?”

> for more on this story, pick up a copy of the July 19 North Renfrew Times…