By Cole Parkinson
Before Christmas hit, Municipal District of Taber councillors had a bit more work left as they discussed their interest in the Alberta Community Partnership Grant.
During a special meeting held on Dec. 21, councillors were informed of the application for the grant and what it could potentially mean for their fire and emergency services in the near future.
“The purpose of this project is to explore the feasibility of potential next steps and options for a more formalized regional governance framework with regard to the provision of Fire and Emergency Services for the MD of Taber, Town of Vauxhall and Village of Barnwell,” reads administration’s report. “Currently, there are multiple inter-municipal service agreements/arrangements for the provision of fire and emergency services and the municipal partners would like to jointly pursue investigating the feasibility of implementing a governance model that could possibly integrate the multiple service agreements into one formal partnership agreement/arrangement. This project would also include a joint Fire and Emergency Services Master Plan component in an effort to optimize coordination of regional planning efforts for the provision of this service.”
The report also explained what would happen if their application was successful.
“If funding approval for this project is successful, it is intended to ultimately aid in decisions that will lend itself to strengthening and enhancing existing inter-municipal partnerships for the delivery of fire and emergency services within the MD of Taber, Town of Vauxhall, and Village of Barnwell region. Streamlining fire and emergency operations and response within the region, as well as carrying out associated master planning activities on a regional basis, will serve to enhance both the capacity of the service as well as existing inter-municipal partnerships. The results of the proposed study and planning activities will provide each of the municipal partners’ guidance on governance and practical direction on what infrastructure improvement/expansions/adjustments to plan for and ultimately implement.”
Administration also further explained support from the other municipalities is necessary for the application.
“Key to this grant application is that there is a requirement to have resolutions of support from the municipalities that are expected to be involved. So that would be the MD of Taber, Town of Vauxhall and Village of Barnwell. It is being proposed the MD of Taber act as the managing partner of the grant and thus, be submitting the grant application on behalf of everybody,” said CAO Arlos Crofts. “The purpose of the grant application is to essentially try to obtain and secure funding so we can look at potential options along those lines. I don’t really want to have any preconceived notions or outcomes, I want the feasibility review and study to happen. That would hopefully outline any pros and cons to any situation or scenario and we could make decisions accordingly. There are various consulting firms out there based on specialized fire and emergency services. Obviously, there would be a competitive process, and if we were to get funding for this, there would be a competitive procurement process. We would go through a selection of proponents that submit proposals.”
Crofts also stated their application would not deviate from others that have been submitted by other municipalities.
“When you look at past grant applications that have been approved with other municipalities and other municipal partners under this program, there are a few and a fair amount that have been similar in nature. I don’t think we are presenting anything uniquely new or something the province hasn’t seen before.”
A motion to approve the proposed Alberta Community Partnership grant application with the project title of MD of Taber Regional Fire and Emergency Services Governance Framework and Masterplanning was carried unanimously.