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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pincher Creek Emergency Services Commission a step closer to reality

T. Lucas / C. Davis - The Town of Pincher Creek and the Municipal District of Pincher Creek No. 9 both voted to lend their support to the establishment of a Pincher Creek Emergency Services Commission.

At the Town Council meeting of June 24, 2013 the vote was unanimous that the Town make a formal unconditional request to the Lieutenant Governor in Council and the Minister of Municipal Affairs to create this commission.  The Commission will be responsible with providing fire, ambulance, and emergency services to the Town and Municipal District of Pincher Creek.

"We have been working very hard, and for several years to get to this point," said Town Councillor Sahra Hancock, who admitted she was excited regarding the final formal request to go to Municipal Affairs for the creation of this commission.  "It will have an ability to have a more wide revenue stream," said Hancock.  To this point, the cost of these services has been an expense shared by the Town and the MD.   "To form a commission  Municipal Affairs has a big checklist,"  said Hancock.  This is a process that has been the Town and MD have been working on since 2011.

"The Fire Chief has done a lot of work on this," said Town Councillor Don Anderberg, "and Chairman Bjorn has done a lot of work on this, and the committees, and the CAO's also."

Councillors Hancock and Anderberg both sit on the Emergency Services Operational Committee.

Hancock explained that this has been developing in stages since 2008, when the Municipal Inspection Report identified improvements and structural changes that could be made in the governance of our local Emergency Services.  "Finding a funding structure that feels fair and equitable for both parties, I think was a huge, huge step for both our municipalities," said Hancock.

At their June 25, 2013 meeting the Council for the MD of Pincher Creek No. 9 also unanimously approved forwarding the request to create the commission to the Lieutenant Governor in Council and the Minister of Municipal Affairs.  MD councillors Rod Cyr and Helen Cyr both expressed that they would like to see a Member at Large as one of the appointments to the proposed commission. MD Councillor Terry Yagos disagreed, saying "That's what we do. We represent the general public".

 Reeve/Emergency Management Agency Chair Bjorn Berg said that it was much more imperative "to get Municipal Affairs to move forward on this", saying the agreement was still in draft form and will come forward for further amendment "when we start discussing the actual salient details of the agreement".

MD Councillor Helen Cyr's motion to move forward as recommended passed unanimously.

Related story: Emergency Management Agency Chair Bjorn Berg reports to Town and MD Councils

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