CORNWALL, Ontario – An angry Coun. Andre Rivette said Friday it’s time for a fire service board in Cornwall.
Rivette was responding to comments made by the Cornwall Professional Firefighters Association this week, where members suggested the local service is “dysfunctional.“
Rivette defended the service, and suggested union members are using a damning 2013 fire marshal’s report to advance a political agenda.
The veteran city councillor suggested it’s time for a fire service board, not unlike the police service board that Rivette chairs, to be created.
“It’s time to go in to make sure what’s being done is supposed to be done,” said Rivette.
Frustrated firefighters are upset with city council for failing to address issues including a revolving number of managers, an inability of city council to understand how the service should operate and ineffective fire prevention measures.
“I think they hung the chief out to dry,” Rivette said, referring to outgoing fire chief Rick McCullough.
Coun. David Murphy suggested while the fire association members have concerns about service, community safety is not being impeded.
“The firefighters have concerns and I don’t have an issue with them expressing those concerns,” he said. “Are the residents of Cornwall safe? Of course they are.”
Firefighters suggest that the 10 people per platoon who fight fires is insufficient compared to the 15 recommended by industry professionals.
And the firefighters association suggested not enough is being done to educate the public on fire prevention.
Rivette drew a line once more.
“The community is very safe,” he said. “We would never do anything to put the community (in jeopardy).”
Murphy said he wants to see issues between council and the firefighter association addressed.
“Council has been made aware of the concerns and I’d like to see the fire master plan completed so we can begin to set the stage of where we’re headed as a municipality with our fire services,” he said.
City council has been waiting for weeks for the fire master plan to be filed.
Rivette suggested the firefighter association has been holding the process up.
“This master plan, they had input on it – but they sat on it,” he said.