MOUNT UNIACKE, NS – A re-elected Liberal government will support the federal government’s initiative to allow fire hall infrastructure to be an eligible category of spending under the Canada Community-Building Fund Program (CCBF).
Fire stations had not been eligible for funding under this program, which was previously known as the Gas Tax Fund, and this disproportionately affected rural stations. Without a large tax base, community fundraising was necessary to help pay for critical infrastructure, such as roofs, and to keep up with basic maintenance.
Today, Liberal leader Iain Rankin said his government will make sure the change is implemented as soon as possible. He made his announcement at the Uniacke and District Volunteer Fire Department station with Liberal candidate for Sackville-Uniacke, Donalda MacIsaac and Liberal MP for Kings-Hants, Kody Blois.
“Our firefighters and first responders are the very best of who we are,” said Liberal leader Rankin. “They shouldn’t have to struggle to maintain their rural fire stations.”
Liberal MP Blois, who is chair of the National Liberal Rural caucus, has been an advocate for making fire stations eligible to apply for CCBF funding, and understands the impact that this change will have.
“I am very pleased to see Premier Rankin and his party are supportive of giving municipalities the tools to fund fire halls, particularly in rural communities,” said Mr. Blois. “I think this will be important for municipalities and a tip of the hat to the men and women who are volunteer firefighters.”
Last week, it was announced that Nova Scotia would receive $55 million through the Canada Community-Building Fund Program. This is in addition to the $58 million the province received earlier this year.
The change to the CCBF program will:
• Ensure that our rural volunteer fire departments have access to stable funding through an application for fire station renovations.
• Lessen the burden on our local firefighters to fundraise for critical infrastructure.
• Reduce the concerns of rural firefighters with regard to the maintenance of the facilities.
“We value the immense bravery and sacrifice of our rural volunteer firefighters and first responders,” said Liberal candidate for Sackville-Uniacke, Donalda MacIsaac. “This is the very least we can do as a province to show our appreciation for all that they do.”