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Port Hawkesbury approved emergency management plan

This bridge, designed and fabricated through a collaboration involving consultant WSP, Strait Engineering, Mulgrave Machine Works and the Town of Port Hawkesbury, was installed Monday near Grants Pond. It is the first physical component of the Destination Reeves Street project and will be part of an active transportation corridor in Port Hawkesbury.
This bridge near Grants Pond is shown in this file photo. - Contributed
PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S. —

Following a lengthy process, the Town of Port Hawkesbury has approved a new emergency management plan.

Now that that part of the process has been concluded, much of the effort will likely soon turn to public education, noted Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton.

“We’ll probably be looking at doing some education in the next couple of months just to let our citizens know what our emergency management plan looks like, just to give them an idea of what to expect if any kind of a weather incident or any other emergency-related incident may occur in the town,” she said.

Brenda Chisholm-Beaton
Brenda Chisholm-Beaton

The plan, which is about 200 pages long, was adopted by council at its regular monthly meeting.

Chisholm-Beaton said the intention is to send the plan to neighbouring fire departments, with hard copies of the document to be available at the volunteer fire department and town office, while an electronic version will be available online.

The town’s volunteer fire chief, Curtis Doucet, who is also the town’s emergency management co-ordinator, helped to lead the effort.

Chisholm-Beaton said in drawing up the plan they considered the type of incidents that are likely to occur on a more regular basis, others that could possibly occur, as well as circumstances that haven’t affected the town to date, such as a tornado.

“We would be looking at the incidents that are more than likely to occur, maybe once or twice in a decade or more often.”

Among the types of events they may anticipate occurring annually are prolonged power outages due to weather, such as the situation that just occurred in the aftermath of hurricane Dorian. It also looks at some of the town’s potential vulnerabilities that would need to be addressed.

“We have a rail line going through the town in the waterfront area, so when you have rail going through the town you definitely want to kind of pay attention to what would you do if there was an incident related to rail,” Chisholm-Beaton said. “We have ports, as well, here could be some mindfulness around the traffic coming in and out of our port areas.”

The town is also located near an industrial park in Point Tupper which is home to heavy industry.

“These are items that may change as time goes on … we would be reviewing our emergency management plan, doing a tabletop exercise once a year and every three years we would do an actual exercise,” she said.

As part of the effort of keeping it a live document, they will also continue to consider where there may be other weaknesses that should be taken into consideration.

The town will now submit the plan to the province’s Emergency Management Office.

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