Researching emergency communication tools

Forestburg council asked administration for more information on an additional communication tool, SMB Apps, a mobile app for smart phones, which allows municipalities to share information when downloaded, at their regular meeting on Thurs. Jan. 17.

Council will then review the information to decide if it would be a beneficial service to offer.

For emergencies the Village of Forestburg council has an automated call out system to quickly deliver messages through texting and phone service.
They also post updated information for residents on their website, Facebook and a monthly newsletter.

After much consideration, council has approved the creation of a Regional Emergency Services Society based on the Business and Implementation Plan on behalf of the Emergency Services Committee.

In 2005 the Emergency Services Committee (ESC) was established as an advisory committee to support the delivery of emergency services in the Flagstaff Region.

Currently ESC is sponsoring the development of a regional fire service business and implementation plan.

The plan evaluates all previous research and planning completed and additional information to consider in the process of establishing a regional fire service.

Coun. Dwayne Giroux was appointed to act as a Regional Emergency Services Society board member, with Mayor Blaise Young acting as an alternate.

The cost of fire services will increase under the society, as fire services within the village have been under-funded, however the amount Forestburg will be responsible for paying will have no impact on tax rates for 2019, and will be covered by fire reserves for the amount of $33,361.

The tax rate impact in 2020 should result in a decrease of current property tax rates based on assessment values for the 2018 tax rate calculations.

A regional fire service will serve all municipalities in the Flagstaff region as a collaborative effort is made in the area of emergency services.

Many feel that regionalizing fire services should provide more consistency in training, service and long term viability of fire response in the area.

Working towards finalizing regional governance
Council approved the request from Flagstaff Intermunicipal Partnership (FIP) to provide a letter of consent to apply for an Alberta Community Partnership grant in the amount of $75,000 to retain a consultant to finalize the Regional Governance Project.

FIP has been in the process of engaging the public to determine if regional amalgamation is supported by the residents of Flagstaff County.

If sufficient support is not received, the application will be withdrawn. Results from the surveys will be presented to the FIP Committee on Feb. 4.

Other news
A request by the Forestburg Arena Association of $40,000 for operating funds was approved by Council.

This is a slight increase from what they requested in 2018, however will not significantly impact the 2019 budget, as an expense of $37,485 was already approved by council.

The Forestburg Library continues to offer valuable services for the community, including conversational french, aspiring novelist workshops and early childhood development programming. The Forestburg Library Board will be looking for someone to fill the role of treasurer in February.

Council approved the re-appointment of Leslie Cholowsky to the Flagstaff Regional Subdivision and Development Appeal Board for a three year term.

A request was made by the Forestburg Fire Department to remove three large trees that are in the front yard of the fire hall, as they feel the trees pose a safety hazard for equipment and buildings.

After consideration, council decided to direct administration to contact an arborist to professionally prune the trees so that they no longer overhang the driveway or pose a danger.

Forestburg councillors accepted policy regarding playgrounds, sports fields and park spaces in the village at their regular meeting on Jan. 17, 2019.

The policy was brought forth during a regular council meeting in October, 2018 asking to prioritize the order in which public works are performing mowing duties.

To ensure that these areas will be maintained in an effective and efficient manner, sports fields, green spaces and playgrounds, including the equipment, will be inspected and maintained regularly during the summer.

The baseball diamonds will be prepped prior to scheduled games when administration is notified.

Planning is well underway for Forestburg’s 100th Anniversary, Aug 3 – 5, 2019. There will be many fun events happening in the community as people come ‘Back To The Burg’ to celebrate the centennial.

Jody Pettigrew
ECA Review

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