Council hears search and rescue may charge fee

Alix, Ab
Written by Stu Salkeld

Alix village council heard a report at their regular meeting Jan. 4 that a large search and rescue organization may introduce a requisition to some municipalities to cover expenses.

During the council reports part of the agenda Mayor Rob Fehr told his peers about a central Alberta mayor’s caucus meeting he recently attended where the assembled elected officials heard a presentation by Central Alberta Search & Rescue, previously known as Red Deer Search & Rescue.

During the presentation the presenters noted they have a “very tight budget” and every year their organization has a “large fundraising component.”

The members also described the ever-increasing costs of specialized equipment needed for their work. To address this the members discussed the idea of a five cent per capita requisition to municipalities in their coverage area.

“That’s how tight things are,” said Mayor Fehr.

Coun. Janice Besuijen stated she was very impressed by the large number of volunteers the organization has access to; the mayor’s memo noted the organization can pull in 1,500 volunteers in an emergency.

Fehr stated that informal discussion among the central Alberta mayors didn’t reveal any objections, and most felt a five cent requisition was modest. It was estimated Alix’ share would only be a few hundred dollars per year.

The mayor also suggested the search and rescue members appear at a council meeting to discuss the idea.

Councillors unanimously accepted the mayor’s report as information.

Nurse practitioners

Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White provided councillors with a press release from the Canadian Nurses Association regarding the benefits of nurse practitioners. The handout listed a number of benefits such as a 20 per cent reduction in emergency department admissions from long term care and decreased appointment wait times.

According to the handout nurse practitioners have general practitioner training and can perform many of the same functions as a family doctor such as health screenings and ordering x-rays.

The handout also stated about a third of nurse practitioners work in hospitals, a third in community health and the rest work at nursing homes and various locations.

White stated the webinar she recently took regarding nurse practitioners was very informative and added that a nurse practitioner in Alix, for example, would address council’s desire to bring more services directly to the village.

Mayor Fehr noted an aging population and more people wanting to stay in their own homes means a resource like this in the village could prove useful.

Coun. Ed Cole stated he felt boosting nurse practitioner numbers is long overdue and could address the physician workload issue.

Fehr stated he’d spoken to the minster of health about this issue, noting the provincial government wants to reduce red tape but at the same time throws up roadblocks to nurse practitioners from countries.

Councillors accepted the report as information.

Compost facility

Coun. Barb Gilliat reported on a Lacombe Regional Waste Services Commission meeting she recently attended.

At the meeting a Red Deer businessman named Colin Campbell gave a report on his proposed Ultimate Waste Services compost facility.

“Things are slowly moving along,” stated Gilliat’s report to council. “He is waiting to hear from Alberta Environment regarding his lease.” Gilliat stated that the waste services company is hopeful the facility will be done by spring.

Lodge hike

Councillors read a letter from the Lacombe Foundation and The Bethany Group noting the housing authority’s requisition was increasing to $775,000 in 2023. In the letter signed by Bethany group CEO Carla Beck it was stated the foundation has not seen a hike since 2012.

The Lacombe Foundation has a provincial government property in Alix that is managed on their behalf by The Bethany Group.

According to the letter the Village of Alix’ share of the requisition is $7,595. Councillors accepted the letter as information.

Cooperation agreement

The CAO asked councillors to consider meeting with Lacombe County regarding their intermunicipal collaboration framework which was passed in 2019.

The framework, which intends to promote cooperation and efficiencies between the two municipalities, includes agreement details noting a joint meeting between the two municipalities is required in 2023.

“Alix may want to consider suggesting a joint meeting of councils in the first quarter of the year to promote regional collaboration,” stated White’s memo to council.

Councillors passed a resolution that village staff would contact Lacombe County about a joint meeting.

Old policy

Councillors unanimously agreed to rescind by resolution the village’s 2006 fire ban policy.

Since councillors are in the process of developing a new fire services bylaw which supersedes policies, CAO White noted this document was redundant and should be rescinded.


Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.