Greetings to all residents of our rural Municipality of Pictou County.
I hope you all had an enjoyable and relaxing summer with family and friends in our beautiful little part of the world. Just as summer was planning on a graceful departure, along came Hurricane Dorian to remind us Mother Nature is boss which leads me into these subjects.
On behalf of Council, I want to thank our rural fire departments for being there through this terrible storm and for a long period after of no power or communications for many of our residents.
Many fire departments opened their doors as comfort stations. Our fire departments are not just fire departments. When something goes wrong in our countryside, we turn to our volunteer fire departments for help. A sincere thank you to all of you who give of your time and your family’s time to help keep us all safe.
A second thing that Hurricane Dorian reminded us of was our rapidly changing climate that we as a municipal government need to prepare for. We need to be ready for much more extreme weather and make sure our infrastructure is up to the job. From sewer and water systems to culverts and bridges to properly situated and built buildings, all our assets must be carefully looked at and upgraded where needed. Along with building our defenses stronger, we need to listen to school children and really get serious about doing our part to save this planet. I believe our Council is prepared to make our own changes, also to pressure other levels of government to force change as well as educate and encourage our residents to change how they do things in their everyday lives.
The final thing that Hurricane Dorian reminded me of was how vulnerable individual communications are in a time of crisis. When I was quite a bit younger, it was always assumed that even though the power went out, the phone still worked. This was not the case for many in the last storm. Our telecommunication giants need to be told by the regulatory bodies that they must do better. Our citizens must not be left isolated with no communications, especially in emergencies. As we begin on the path to building our own high-speed internet network, hopefully our Council can lead the way to more secure communications for all.
Our Municipality is undertaking a study over the next year to ascertain the best way to fund our fire departments going forward. Some of our smaller departments are having difficulty to raise enough funds through our fire levy to properly and safely run their departments. We hope by working co-operatively with all 18 fire departments, we can find an equitable funding formula and other efficiencies that will benefit everyone.
I have enjoyed visiting many of your home communities over the past year. I have enjoyed all the visits and meeting all the good down to earth rural people who tell it like it is. Remember you have 12 good councillors looking out for you and your communities. Don’t hesitate to contact any of us.
Warden Robert Parker