Saturday, January 16, 2021

Reader: There is – Us and Them

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Born and raised in Sydenham Township, to this day I call it home. Living just one concession from Georgian Bluffs and the City of Owen Sound I use all the amenities of these two municipalities. To provide my address as Meaford, is very confusing to many.

I have been very fortunate to have the Emergency Services of the Inter-Township Fire Department (ITFD). Did you know that the Inter-township Fire Department acquired their ‘Superior Tanker Shuttle Service Accreditation’. What is this you ask? Well it saves you, the taxpayer, money!

The ITFD, with their hard work passed the test and received their accreditation (pumping 2,770 litres per minute). What does this mean to me? Because I live in an 8 km radius of the Inter-Township Fire Department I receive a discount in my Home Insurance Policy. Their hard work saves me money.

The last municipal election in October, 2018, I attended the candidates meeting at Woodford October 3rd because Meaford was testing the well at the old Sydenham Municipal and Maintenance building for a possible Fire Hall site. (We can’t afford to build and fill a fire hall with millions of dollars of equipment.) When it was my turn to speak at the candidates meeting, I told Mayor Clumpus that I was not in favour of Meaford building a Fire Station in the western region of Sydenham Township.

What Meaford was currently paying for Emergency Services with Inter-Township Fire Department was a very fair price in comparison to what they were spending for Emergency Services in Meaford and St. Vincent. (I still have my notes from that candidate meeting.) I asked her: Why Meaford Fire Department had not obtained their Superior Tanker Shuttle Service Accreditation and “Are you in favour of taking away residents and commercial businesses discounted insurance, and spending millions of dollars to build and equip another fire hall and downloading millions of dollars of debt to all the Meaford Taxpayers?” The Mayor avoided answering my questions and said that she would look into the Water Shuttle because she didn’t know anything about it. To this date, the Mayor has not pushed for the Meaford Fire Hall to obtain their Water Shuttle Accreditation for the residents of the Town of Meaford and St. Vincent that live within 8 kms of the Meaford Fire Hall. I guess The Mayor and staff are not interested in helping taxpayers save a few hundred dollars every year. Check out the Fire Departments that have worked hard to obtain their accreditation.

If Chatsworth, Grey Highlands, West Grey, Markdale Fire Departments, and many other local Fire Departments have the determination to do this, why isn’t Meaford doing this for their residential and commercial taxpayers? Mayor Clumpus would rather increase your taxes and increase your property insurance because Meaford Fire Department does not have their Superior Water Shuttle Accreditation, she has had two years to request staff to obtain this since the candidates meeting. I guess that is her choice or the staff that have convinced her of that.

What I know is, I am currently enjoying the expert, certified and accredited services of Inter-Township Fire Department, that is until the Meaford representatives on the IFTD Board of Directors, Councillor Steve Bartley and Mayor Clumpus with the direction of Meaford Staff broke the Emergency Services contract with ITFD that served the residents of Sydenham Twp since the 1960s. Yes, the new agreement will be for Fee per call, BUT there is the possibility of Meaford changing the boundaries of responding Fire Departments which will increase property insurance and rumours of building a Meaford substation that we can’t afford. (Who wants another 4% or higher increase in their property taxes for another new equipped Fire Station in the Municipality of Meaford?) At the October 19, 2020 Meaford Town Hall Meeting, Mayor Clumpus told a delegation that “they have been working on this for many years” and we as residents are just finding out about this now.

Why did I attend the Candidates Meeting when she knew that they were going to break the agreement for Emergency Services if they have been working on this for many years?

Why doesn’t the Meaford Fire Department get up to standards instead of taking on more than what they can handle?

So many things to ponder: changing the boundaries on Emergency Services; what Sydenham residents are losing and the additional cost of home insurance to the residents in the eastern region of Sydenham Township because of the longer response from Meaford Fire Dept.; building a Fire substation in Sydenham and Meaford does not have their Superior Water Shuttle Accreditation. Yep, so many things to ponder – there is us (served by ITFD) and them (Meaford Fire Department). Please attend the Open House at Woodford November 17th to get the facts on how this will affect your Emergency Services – medical and fire!

Krista McKee, Meaford

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