Stettler county council approved its new fire services agreement with its urban counterpart at the regular council meeting Nov. 15, with councillors lauding the agreement as clear, concise and efficient.

Director of Municipal Services Andrew Brysiuk presented councillors with the draft 2023 Joint Fire Services Agreement which he noted involved many months of work.

“The Town and the County have been working towards modernizing the agreement which governs our joint delivery of the Stettler Regional Fire Department,” stated the staff memo to council. “The new agreement provides a clearer definition of the roles and responsibilities of each municipality and fire department staff. The agreement decentralizes many of the responsibilities the managing partner formally had to perform. This is enabled by the management restructuring which sees municipal chiefs employed by each municipality and a manager of regional fire services to oversee joint concerns.”

Readers should note earlier this year the Town of Stettler announced it was dissolving the existing joint fire services agreement between themselves and the County of Stettler, essentially meaning both municipalities would form their own fire departments. A process of mediation then began. However, a few weeks later the town and county announced they would work together on a new joint fire services agreement.

Brysiuk elaborated on his description by saying the town and county had been working together for months on this new agreement. “I am very happy to say…we had successful mediation…and set the framework for this agreement to come forward,” said Brysiuk.

He explained the draft agreement defines roles and responsibilities for everyone involved in fire services, decentralizes a lot of the responsibilities, ensures both the town and county each have their own fire chief and creates a regional manager position to coordinate fire services.

He also noted both councils already had a chance to look over this agreement and some minor tweaks were made. Brysiuk stated staff recommended councillors approve the draft agreement, which their urban counterparts were scheduled to consider at their upcoming Nov. 21 regular meeting.

Coun. James Nibourg, who was a part of the negotiating committee with the Town of Stettler, stated this agreement is a good example of the town and county successfully working together. He noted other people had opinions, “…maybe misinformed opinions,” but both municipalities developed a draft agreement that is a very good deal for both parties.

Coun. Les Stulberg agreed, adding both town and county should be proud of this agreement which is very detailed and good for the community as a whole. “I mean, it couldn’t be any better,” said Stulberg, who added the agreement is clear, well-defined and efficient.

Coun. Dave Grover stated if everything goes the way it’s intended the agreement should be successful. Grover also asked when the County of Stettler fire chief will be hired. “The sooner the better, probably,” said Grover.

Brysiuk responded that since the regional manager should be part of the county chief’s hiring, that regional manager should be in place first. He added that within a few weeks the County of Stettler could begin advertising for its new chief and hopefully in the New Year resumes can be pondered.

Councillors unanimously approved the 2023 Joint Fire Services Agreement.

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Nov 24, 2023 at 09:11

This item reprinted with permission from   East Central Alberta Review   Coronation, Alberta

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