The Central Abaco District Council met on March 9, 2017.
The first item was a plea by the Marsh Harbour Fire Chief, Sarone Kennedy, asking the Council to resume financial support for the fire department. The local government contribution has been withheld since last summer as a result of the Council’s determination of slow and inefficient response to fires. Council members believed this was due to poor management decisions impeding the firemen’s ability to respond in a timely manner. The Council had implied earlier that the funding would be restored when the fire department showed improvement in its ability to respond. Chief Kennedy explained his goals as the recently elected fire chief and asked that the funding be restored. He was asked many questions by Council members but did not get immediate satisfaction to his request.
To questions about dissension between the volunteers and the department’s management, Mr. Kennedy stressed the dangers the volunteers face in fighting fires and the need to adhere to department protocols when responding to fires. He also stated that problematic issues have been resolved.
Administrator Charles Moss noted that he believes the department does not respond quickly to emergencies.
Mr. Kennedy invited Council members to meet with him personally to better understand the fire department issues. He is working on a two-year strategic plan for the department. He stated that he has consulted with previous department chiefs to ensure a smooth transition to his current management of the department. On being asked on how many active firemen there were, he said about 19 of which eight joined recently including two women who asked to join just that week. The administrator requested the last six months of fire department minutes so the Council could have a better understanding of the department’s functions, needs and organization.
Reverting to routine Council business, Chief Councillor George Cornish was upset with the amount of mold he noticed on the ceiling of the airport terminal. Council members were not sure how to deal with this mold which can lead to health issues.
A discussion centered on three new bus stops that have recently appeared without Council’s knowledge. They are at the new government clinic, at the corner of Crockett Drive and Forest Drive and at the park by the high school. There are no scheduled buses serving the greater Marsh Harbour area. It was thought that these shelters are for employees of Baker’s Bay waiting to be transported to and from its new harbour facility north of Stink Pond on the road to Treasure Cay.
The administrator reminded Council members of its authority to make traffic schemes for its district as allowed in the Local Government Act. He urged them to give thought to traffic and possibly encourage routine bus service.
An application for a mini-shopping center on Crockett Drive is apparently being challenged as it is close to a church and is believed to include a liquor store. The application was rejected by Town Planning but may be submitted to Council on an appeal. Council members were asked to look into the issue so they will be able to make an informed decision if an appeal is submitted.