Mayor Hann of Port au Port East hoping for something positive on firefighters returning this week

Frank Gale
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PORT AU PORT EAST  Mayor Eileen Hann of Port au Port East said although her council met in an in-camera session Tuesday afternoon, there would not be anything to report on the situation with the fire department until later this week.

The towns of Port au Port East and Port au Port West-Aguathuna-Felix Cove have been without a fire department following a meeting of the volunteer firefighters last Wednesday evening over a municipal election issue.

It was all over a request by Coun. Michael McCann to the town of Port au Port East to separate the ballots of council from those of mayor.

The community, like most small towns in the province, has only one ballot for its municipal election.

Once the votes are tallied, the council itself determines who will be mayor.

Council decided through a poll of councillors in August that it would stick with the same system with only one ballot for its municipal election.

On Wednesday, which was the eve of nomination day, the fire department closed the fire hall and said they are refusing to answer fire calls in support of McCann.

Since the walk out by the firefighters, Hann has contacted the Kippens and Stephenville Fire Departments and through a mutual aid agreement Kippens agreed to cover off Port au Port if there was a fire, with Stephenville backing up Kippens in the event there is a fire in that town while they’re away in Port au Port.

Fire Chief George Bennett of Kippens Fire Department said from the time of the agreement late last week up to Tuesday afternoon that all was quiet and no fire calls came in from Port au Port.

When Port au Port East held its nomination day on Thursday, as promised McCann did not have his name on the ballot for councillor.

Hann said she is hoping to get an answer on Thursday night about the situation with the fire department in her town as a meeting between council and the Port au Port Fire Department’s Fire Chief is planned at that time.

“Please God, we’ll have something positive to tell after that meeting,” she said.

Organizations: Kippens Fire Department, Port au Port Fire Department

Geographic location: Port au Port East

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