By Craig Westcott | The Shoreline
Holyrood’s volunteer fire department is expanding its range of coverage to take in the old Witless Bay Line as far as the town limits of Bay Bulls and Witless Bay.
Holyrood councillor Jim Joy said when the original service agreement was put forward by the Eastern Regional Service Board for fire protection in the area from the TransCanada Highway to Butterpot Park and Holyrood, the plan was for the Holyrood department to handle the Witless Bay Line as well.
“But the town (Holyrood) withdrew its request due to the Town of Witless Bay’s indication to provide such service,” Joy said. “Over the past few years, the Town of Witless Bay has not provided the fire service. At the request of 911, the Holyrood fire department has been providing this service.”
In the new agreement, the Town of Holyrood will be paid to provide firefighting and vehicle extraction services on the old Witless Bay Line, Joy said.
“I think it’s great that the Town of Holyrood is able to offer service to the Witless Bay Line area,” said councillor Kevin Costello. “I think it speaks highly of the calibre of the volunteer firefighters we have on staff.”
Deputy Mayor Curtis Buckle echoed that view. “As councillor Joy indicated, we’ve been doing the Salmonier Line and Middle Gull Pond areas for a while and it’s been working very well,” said Buckle, who chaired Tuesday’s council meeting in the absence of Mayor Gary Goobie who was working. “It’s just as well to have it (the Witless Bay Line) as part of it. If something happens in that area, Bay Bulls won’t respond so we’re getting the call anyway and it’s just as well for us to get the compensation for services in that area.”
Joy said the willingness of Holyrood’s volunteer firefighters to take on the additional work shows their true commitment to their role. “They obviously deserve a lot of credit and respect,” Joy said.
Chief Administrator Officer Gary Corbett said Holyrood will receive some $4,600 a year to provide the additional service. The Eastern Regional Service Board charges cabin owners on the Witless Bay Line $50 a year for fire protection.