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N.S. generator program helps communities prepare for emergencies

February 1, 2023
By Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Photo: Annex Business Media

Following the devastation caused by hurricane Fiona last September, many communities reassessed their emergency preparedness plans. With widespread power outages across Nova Scotia resulting from the storm, the need for more generators became evident.

A news release issued Jan. 26 stated: “The province is providing $5.8 million to help 180 community organizations through the Community Generator Program. The program helps groups purchase and install generators at community centres so the centres are able to serve as a gathering space during power outages.”

The Canso and Hazel Hill Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) is one of the grant recipients in this round of applications. Fire Chief Tom Kavanaugh told The Journal in an electronic message, “Receiving this funding [$50,000] is a very significant provincial investment into the Canso and Hazel Hill VFD. We had already identified the need to have our existing emergency generator upgraded and replaced.

“This funding now allows us to make these required upgrades, without such a financial burden. Hurricane Fiona has seen our department utilized as a shelter and warming centre for residents from Canso and the surrounding communities, along with emergency responders and workers.


“Everyone anticipates that these types of natural weather events will continue to increase in strength, and frequency,” wrote Kavanaugh, concluding, “With this provincial investment in our department, we will now be better prepared to support our communities’ needs during any such emergencies.”

Announcing the grants last week, Pat Dunn, minister of communities, culture, tourism and heritage said, “We know how important community centres are across this province…We want to make sure centres are ready to support their communities in times of need.”

The Goshen Community Centre volunteers agree and that is why they applied for the grant, receiving $40,038.

Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s Councillor James Fuller, who represents Goshen, told The Journal, “The community centre is a comfort centre in times of emergency or disaster. And, up to this point, a generator had to be wheeled up from the fire house and run from extension cords…The generator they are looking for would give it [the centre] an uninterrupted supply…It would give them more access to electricity in the event of another disaster. The community centre would really be available for warming, for charging your appliances, whatever you need to do; a place for people in the community to go when they have no power.”

The move to apply to the community generator program, said Fuller, was “completely community driven.”

Lewis MacIntosh, chairperson of the Goshen Community Centre board of directors told The Journal, “We were very pleased in receiving the word that we were going to be a recipient of one of the generators. That is excellent news – I think it is going to add a lot to our centre … After hurricane Fiona, we had set up there for five days and we had a generator that had been taken in from the fire department … the new generator will be a standalone generator and once the power goes off it will automatically kick in and we’ll be able, and if the need arises, we will be there … It’s going to be a great addition.”

Applications for the 2023-24 Community Generator Program are open now and close on February 14.

The list of 2022-23 recipients is available online at: https://cch.novascotia.ca/sites/default/files/inline/cgp-recipients-2022-23.pdf.

Guidelines for the 2023-24 program can be found online at: https://cch.novascotia.ca/investing-in-our-future/community-generator-program.

Lois Ann Dort is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for the Guysborough Journal.

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