PORT HAWKESBURY: The Port Hawkesbury Volunteer Fire Department highlighted low calls in 2020 and 2021 during a report to council at the town of Port Hawkesbury, during the meeting on Tuesday, May 2.

Fire Chief Donald MacDonald with the Port Hawkesbury Volunteer Fire Department, came to present about trends they see and provided a five year break down of calls received from 2018 to 2022.

MacDonald said in 2020 and 2021 less people were travelling due to COVID-19 and calls to accidents were halved and the department received about 36 calls in both years. With 67 calls in 2022, the department has now reported an increase in activity. Among the incidents they’ve responded to in 2022; were 21 motor vehicle accidents, one car fire and eight structural fires.

Speaking about newly purchased equipment for the department throughout the past year, MacDonald said they have purchased a Firefighter Level 1 course from the National Fire Protection Agency. He said they’re currently doing more training in house rather than relying on the fire school and have also upgraded the audio-visual equipment in the hall for training purposes and to be used for hall rentals.

Coun. Blaine MacQuarrie said what the fire chief presented before council was a real testament to the amount of community involvement the firehall and fire department members have been demonstrating in the area.

“I appreciate your leadership as the fire chief at the department, these [investments] are such positive thing,” said Coun. MacQuarrie.

“I just want to congratulate you and the Port Hawkesbury fire department, for your service and for the contributions in your community.”

On the agenda as well, was the adoption of the terms of reference for the Port Hawkesbury Development Advisory Committee. This was brought before council by the newly created committee which assists council in business attraction and developing industrial, commercial and residential development within the town and Strait area.

Coun. MacQuarrie said the committee came about from previous council meetings in the fall. He told council the Development Advisory Committee is a combination of the housing committee and economic development committee.

“It was felt that both issues, economic development and housing go hand in hand. And that’s why the committee was combined,” Coun. MacQuarrie said during council.

Some of the terms which were adopted focus on maintaining transparency within the committee. Members may only serve on the committee for two years maximum, but can also be reappointed and each citizen advisory committee member must be aware and understand to the best of their ability, policies and legislation with respect to conflict of interest.

The next public council meeting in Port Hawkesbury is Tuesday, June 6.