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Silence at noon

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services

Fort Simpson (Dec 09/05) - Fort Simpson's distinctive fire siren might soon be decommissioned.

Pat Rowe, the fire chief, told council the siren is obsolete. Firefighters now use radios to communicate and respond to fires.

"The siren is basically for telling people to go to lunch," said Rowe.

Rowe is also concerned that the siren draws more curious onlookers than firefighters. This has lead to difficulties fighting fires.

Before being removed, the siren will be disconnected first, said Mayor Raymond Michaud.

A decision will probably be made at the Dec. 19 council meeting.

Two elections in one

The Fort Simpson Village council by-election will be held on Jan. 23 to coincide with the federal election.

"I figure if you have it on the same day you are only inconveniencing people once," said Mayor Raymond Michaud.

Voters will be asked to choose a councillor and vote on a plebiscite about the elimination alcohol restrictions in the community.

"There is currently a restriction on the amount of liquor that a person can buy from the Fort Simpson Liquor Store in a day. Should this restriction be removed?," might be the wording of the question he said.

Michaud acknowledged that the outcome of the plebiscite won't be binding and that previous votes haven't changed the system.

"I'm just asking for the right for the people of Fort Simpson to have a say in this," said Michaud.

To auction?

Selling the 1988 Amertek fire truck owned by the village in an Edmonton auction is becoming a serious option.

Pat Rowe, the fire chief, told council that similar trucks sold for between $25,000-$40,000 through Ritchie Bros. in Edmonton. The auctioneers will take 15 per cent of the sale price.

If the truck isn't sold Mayor Raymond Michaud said it will probably just sit outside while it's value decreases.

Curling space

Space for curlers was guaranteed after council approved a three year lease agreement with the Fort Simpson curling club.

"A dollar seems like an awfully sweet deal," said Coun. Dave Wright.

Councillors Bob Hanna and Tom Wilson disagreed and said the town benefits from the arrangement.

"It saves us money because we aren't using our staff to do it," said Wilson.

Less oil

A presentation by Enbridge staff about safety turned into a discussion about the future of the pipeline.

Oil volumes moved by the pipeline are decreasing, said Mark Gerlock. Around 140 cubic metres per hour now flow past the town compared to 240 when the project started. Next year Enbridge is considering shutting down the flow for a few days a week.

Without new discoveries, by 2015 the oil from Norman Wells probably won't be viable, said Anne Marie Tout.

"It could be very good or very bad, it just depends," Tout said referring to the chance of new oil finds.