Monday, March 27, 2017

MD of Pincher Creek agrees to contribute to Alberta Farm Safety educational program

Chris Davis - At their February 14 meeting council for the MD of Pincher Creek discussed a request for funding from the Farm Safety Centre, for their safety education program for rural schools. The request was made in January to the Agricultural Service Board, which first sent a letter to the Farm Safety Center asking a number of questions for clarification.

Farm Safety Centre Executive Director Laura Nelson responded to a number of questions, via correspondence. According to Nelson, "In 2016 a total of 269 students in 14 school classrooms within the MD of Pincher Creek received Safety Smarts presentations. While budget realities make it impossible to support all requests, we are hopeful that the MD of Pincher Creek might again have funds available to support program delivery in 2017. Our full 2017 request, based on 2016 delivery to 269 children at $3.50/student, is $941.50."

Nelson said "The mandate of our not-for-profit organization is to reduce injuries and fatalities in rural Alberta. Often youth, especially younger children, are not fully aware of the many potential hazards presented by rural living. Increasing their awareness and ability to make informed personal safety decisions is extremely important. The power of this program comes from consistent, reinforced, face to face sharing. Hundreds of rural schools allow time for this program each year because they hear of the close calls and near misses and recognize the importance of their students receiving consistent best practice safety messaging."

At council's February 28 meeting they discussed the subject at length. Councillor Fred Schoening said he was not pleased with the synopsis the MD had asked for, calling it "inadequate". Reeve Brian Hammond asked "Do we support this thing in principle notwithstanding the lack of information?", to which Schoening replied in the affirmative.

At then end of discussion, council agreed to fund the program for children within the boundaries of the MD's jurisdiction, including Canyon and Livingstone schools, as requested for a total of 269 children, at a cost of $3.50 per child for a total contribution of $941.50. Councillor Quentin Stevick was the sole opposing vote.

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