Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Preparing for the worst brings out the best in Goshen

  • August 30 2023
  • By Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter    

GOSHEN — A new state-of-the-art generator for its community centre, extensive updates to its emergency plan and even ice rescue equipment are helping the tightly knit community of Goshen prepare for what the province’s increasingly unpredictable weather has in store for it.

According to Lewis MacIntosh, chair of the local community centre and volunteer fire department’s board of directors, civic preparedness is becoming more important than ever for small communities like Goshen – which was recently named one of the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s official emergency comfort centres, along with Sherbrooke, Port Bickerton, Indian Harbour Lake and Ecum Secum.

“All of this is vitally important,” he said. “I mean, we sort of escaped the [worst] of Fiona last year, but that’s not to say, as we listen to the forecast now about the upcoming hurricane season, we couldn’t be affected.... You get the power out for four or five or six days and not knowing when you’re going to get it back... It’s serious.”

To mitigate future turmoil, he said, the community centre is in the process of installing a new propane-driven generator that’s more powerful and reliable than the portable ones it has been using. “It’s on site, hooked up and all the electrical wiring is done and the propane tanks are in,” MacIntosh said. “It just needs someone to come from Halifax to make sure everything is up to speed, but it’s going to work out really well. With this system, once the power goes off, the generator will kick in within seconds.”

Goshen has also just finished updating its emergency plan, thanks in large part to community volunteers like Darlene Harris calling out on social media for nurses and others to stand ready in times of trouble.

“The last time the plan was revised was in 2006,” MacIntosh said. “Darlene, for one, has taken it and updated the list of community service members to contact. There’s a [new] listing for fire departments and local contacts for the community centre, and [new] listings of people who are available to help, [including] folks who have nursing experience. We now have about four names of people in the local area with nursing experience who would be available, if we needed them.”

Also in the works is new ice rescue equipment for the community’s fire department. In a text, the brigade’s chief, Bruce Sinclair, declined to comment on the details until, “We actually have it in our hall.” But, both MacIntosh and Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s Deputy Warden James Fuller – who is also an active member of the department – confirmed it’s on the way.

As time goes by, MacIntosh said, focusing on community preparedness will be crucial to adaptability and quality of life in Goshen and elsewhere in rural Nova Scotia.

“Absolutely...There’s no doubt about it. Fortunately, we have an excellent group of volunteers here. We are very, very fortunate.”