When a community establishes a public service such as a fire department, residents of that particular municipality normally can expect a jump in their taxes. However, the recently established Lakes and District fire department will not be a tax burden on the residents of the municipality of Yarmouth. Members of the community prefer to operate their department with community support instead of funds from taxes.
The Lake George-Lake Annis area had been without adequate fire protection until a group of concerned citizens came up with the idea of establishing a fire department that would cover the areas unprotected by surrounding fire departments.
Early in August the concerned group, led by Frank Anderson who is presently chairman of the fire committee, polled the residents if the area to determine if the residents were interested in establishing a fire department. They found that over 90 percent off those polled were in favour of the idea. "When we found out that the people wanted a fire department we started looking into what we could do to establish one. We elected officers and applied for a Canada Works Grant. " Before we heard the decision on our Canada Works application, we decided that we would do that thing, one way or the other, on our own", Anderson said. While the group was waiting for word on their Canada Works application raised such as bake sales, auctions and raffles but the majority of the money came from the residents of the area who donated generously when we canvassed them", Anderson stated.
Early in November the Lakes and District Fire Department received a Canada works Grant for over $49,000 for the establishment of a main fire station in Lake George and for the establishment of a smaller fire station in Norwood, near lake Annis.
" Because of the large amount of territory we must cover we are building a 30' by 40' station in Lake George near the Fish Hatchery and we are also building a 15' by 20' or 30' station on the Norwood-Lake Annis corner but the $49,000 grant will only cover the costs of labour and we had to still provide for the materials and land". Anderson said.
Both parcels of land for the stations in Lake George and Norwood were donated to the department and Anderson who donated the land for the Lake George station said that the entire community is behind the project. " We had the land donated, the lumber was donated and services of a lumber mill had also been donated, so resides the Canada Works Project we are doing the whole thing on our own and that's the way the people of the area wanted it", according to Anderson.
" We went before the Yarmouth Municipal council to explain what we were doing and we told them we didn't want any assistance from them and when we finish the project we do not want any tax structure because the people we polled felt that we could raise more money from donations than through taxes and besides nobody wants their taxes to go up" Anderson said. Unlike many organizations who request financial assistance from their municipality the Lakes and District Fire Department reversed that trend and the municipality of Yarmouth praised the organization for its initiative and self supporting attitude.
Earlier this year the department purchased a pumper truck from the Metaghan fire department and with their facilities expected to be in operation next summer and nearly 150 men and women volunteer firefighters the residents of that community will be providing a service the community has needed and they did it their way.
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