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May 28th, 2014 ~ Vol. 84 No. 21
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Municipality signs mutual aide
agreement with province
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
An agreement with the province means big savings for the community but could lead to a boundary dispute with the Department of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD).
On May 20, council approved a multi-year mutual aide agreement with ESRD, ensuring fire protection for the municipality.
Under the agreement, the community is split into Operational Mutual-Aid Zones, which show who foots the bill in case of a fire.
The Crowsnest Pass Fire/Rescue Department is liable for all structural and vehicular fires in the municipality and for any fires within Zone 3, which contains Coleman, Blairmore, Frank and Bellevue. The province is taking the rest.
Steve Munshaw, Fire Chief, expressed concern that a hilly, inaccessible area near Goat Mountain in Frank falls within the municipal liability zone.
Under the Forest and Prairie Protection Act, the municipality might need to pay if they call in ESRP for fire support. If the department needs to call in water bombers to the area, at a cost of about $2,000 per drop, the municipality could be held liable if the bill exceeds $10,000. Munshaw says this is unlikely; the province has never billed any municipality for fire services.
continued below...


On the other hand, Munshaw says the department can bill the province when responding to call outside their liability zone.
Councillor Bill Kovach expressed concern that Hillcrest is outside the municipal liability zone but Steve Munshaw, Fire Chief, says this allows him to bill the province the standard rate of $420/hour per fire truck for responding to calls there.
Mayor Blair Painter says the boundary dispute has been an issue since amalgamation in 1979, but ESRD does not want to address it.
Council will be asking the province to alter the boundary zones. The multi year agreement expires in 2018.
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May 28th ~ Vol. 84 No. 21
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