Wed, 26 Feb 2020 21:29:12 -0500
Gov't mulls satellite fire response stations for south TrelawnyBY HORACE HINES
Local Government and Community Development Minister Desmond McKenzie has hinted at plans to establish satellite fire response stations in the southern sections of Trelawny.
Speaking at the regular monthly meeting of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation last week, McKenzie noted that mayor of Falmouth, Councillor C Junior Gager and custos of Trelawny, Paul Muschett have raised the issue of the absence of a fire station to serve the hilly areas of south Trelawny.
“In discussions with the custos and the mayor this morning, the question of the ability to respond to fires in the southern parts of the parish came up. I don't want to say much on it until I have the details in full where I can speak more wholesome on it. It's a matter that this administration has been giving serious attention. The commissioner will give me further details as to where we are, but it is the intention of the administration to put in place certain response mechanism in the southern parts of Trelawny in order to assist just in case there is that need for the Jamaica Fire Brigade to respond. I will say no more on that until the details have been worked out,” McKenzie noted.
But speaking to members of the media in Montego Bay later that day, the local government and community development minister indicated that the pilot for a programme that the Jamaica Fire Brigade is set to adopt out of Canada is earmarked for south Trelawny before it is rolled out across other areas of the country.
“We are well advance in implementing that and we going to be looking to use south Trelawny as an area to test it to see how it will work,” McKenzie said.
He added: “I don't want to say much on it, but a team from the brigade went to Canada and looked at a situation that I think is workable,” he said.
Following McKenzie's disclosure at the Trelawny Municipal Corporation, Dr Pauline Foster, the People's National Party (PNP) councillor for the Ulster Spring Division, and her Martha Brae Division counterpart, Phillip Service, welcomed the news.
Dr Foster has long bemoaned that there were no fire stations or fire hydrants in the entire Trelawny Southern constituency.
Five years ago, she lamented the absence of fire services for the communities of Ulster Spring, Albert Town, Wait-a-Bit, Warsop, Troy and other areas in the hilly parts of the parish, and renewed calls for the establishment of a fire station in the yam-belt communities.
She argued then that if a fire starts in the area, a fire unit will only get there in time for cooling-down operations since they have to travel from as far as Falmouth in Trelawny, or Christiana in the neighbouring parish of Manchester.
Ulster Spring is a distance of 41 kilometres from Falmouth, while Christiana is about 20 kilometres.
Meanwhile, McKenzie, who noted that the Falmouth fire station last year received a brand new truck, also announced plans to add a new water tanker by the end of this month, and by the end of December, a brand new pumper truck and another water tanker.
“So by the end of the year the station will have four brand new equipment to fight fires in the parish of Trelawny,” he stressed.
He added that $10 million will be provided to carry out the second phase of repairs at the facility, following the recent completion of repair work amounting to a similar amount in the first phase.
“The second phase of work at Falmouth, where another $10 million is to be spent, is now at the procurement stage and the evaluation of the contract is presently taking place, and it is expected that work on phase two will commence by the end of October this year. And it includes landscaping, demolition and erecting of a new fence, rehabilitation of the roadway, and other works that the brigade has requested,” said McKenzie.
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