ARICHAT: Councillors want the Emergency Management Office (EMO) coordinator to appear before council to answer questions about the response to Hurricane Dorian.
During the regular monthly meeting of Richmond Municipal Council in Arichat, district 1 councillor James Goyetche asked for council’s approval to have Adam King, and other interested parties, attend an upcoming council session.
In introducing his motion, Goyetche said that not only is this not the last storm that will be experienced in Richmond County but future weather events could be more severe, and there is no time to waste in getting answers.
“It’s alright to have a storm whereby you miss power for eight hours, but when it comes to this kind of situation here, four days, we have a lot of seniors, we have a lot of people that don’t have generators,” Goyetche told council. “I know they set up emergency centres but I think we have to go beyond that and look into the possibility of probably comfort centres. I think it’s very important for the municipality to coordinate these efforts.”
Goyetche wants to start the discussion about what the municipality can do to be fully prepared for the next storm.
“We have to be the lead in this type of situation.”
Deputy Warden Alvin Martell agreed and said he would like to receive a report about the hurricane, and what happened with all the generators purchased and distributed by the municipality.
“My understanding is the county has already spent quite a bit of money on generators to set up comfort stations,” Martell noted. “I don’t know if that was activated because I know there were a lot of communities that had generators, generator hook-ups and were all ready to go whenever there was a storm, and surely in four days, they would have been able to mobilize those centres because they have the equipment.”
District 4 councillor Gilbert Boucher said he understands the municipality paid for generator sets, but the only one, he knows of, that was set up was at the hall in St. George’s Channel, meanwhile facilities like the hall in Samsonville was not open because he was told their generator was at the fire hall in St. Peter’s.
“Those gen sets were given to the fire departments, they should have been brought up to the halls, given to the people and kept there, not at the fire department,” Boucher said, noting the halls were all wired to accept generators.
Boucher wants to get information from the EMO coordinator and also task the Public Works Department with finding out where the generators are located.
Council agreed to have King come before their committee-of-the-whole meeting next month.