HALLVILLE — Municipal and farm leaders gathered here to celebrate the debut of available civic address signs for farm field entrances in the Township of North Dundas.
Part of a province-wide movement to denote otherwise unmarked rural entrances for first responders, the ‘Emily Project’ is named in honour of a little girl who tragically died in Northumberland County after paramedics had trouble locating her accident scene on a rural property.
The North Dundas version of the effort has already seen a number of the new blade-style signs installed, with just over 100 of the markers still available on a first-come, first-served basis at the subsidized cost of $37.50, thanks to a $5,000 grant from the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. The price rises to $75 per sign after the subsidy runs out.
Farmers are not required to participate in the program but are urged to do so.
“It’s completely voluntary. There’s no onus on any farmer at all to get one of these, but we really hope everyone buys into it because it’s about saving lives” as well as faster overall care in the event of injury, said Deputy Mayor and Fire Commissioner Al Armstrong, at the unveiling of the symbolic first sign at the farm of Jim Shaw outside Hallville, an event the deputy mayor described as a “very proud moment.”
“We hope to see them all over the township,” said Armstrong, who observed that shaving seconds off the arrival time of first responders “could save one of your loved ones.”
“We hope we never need them, but if we do need them more than once, they will more than pay for themselves,” he added.
“It’s well worth it to have the signs,” Shaw agreed.
It was Shaw who brought the Emily Project to the attention of the Dundas Federation of Agriculture and Armstrong at a meeting a couple of years ago. Armstrong in turn pushed for the United Counties to get on board after Shaw pitched the concept at the upper-tier council table.
Councillor John Thompson pointed out that the field signs could also serve as “another reference point” for 9-1-1 callers witnessing car accidents on rural roads without nearby residences.
The chosen style for the new markers in North Dundas will also serve as the replacement model for all other civic addresses. Mayor Tony Fraser praised their extra large size and legibility. “These are much easier to see, going down at the road at night,” said Fraser, knowing firsthand the challenges as a firefighter with the Winchester station.
Application forms for the new signs are available on the township website and office.
Property owners may purchase as many as required without limit.