Stettler county council wants results about Donalda fire hall

Written by Stu Salkeld

The County of Stettler council seemed unhappy about the way fire department recruitment was recently handled in a nearby village. The discussion was held at the Feb. 8 regular meeting of council.

Reeve Larry Clarke asked that the topic of the Donalda fire hall be placed on the agenda as he had concerns about the approach to the possible reactivation of that fire hall.

Clarke stated at the recent recruitment meeting held at the Donalda fire hall the public was asked if they wanted to meet again soon to discuss the possible reactivation of the hall and the community agreed they would meet Feb. 9.

Clarke stated he was concerned because as far as he knows nobody publicized the Feb. 9 meeting at all and he was therefore concerned that people who might want to attend don’t know anything about it.

Clarke asked if it was too late to at least have it placed on the County of Stettler website, “…Because it should have been advertised.”

Coun. James Nibourg asked why the Feb. 9 meeting wasn’t advertised. There was no answer given in the council meeting that this writer heard.

Clark reiterated that it was agreed there would be a Donalda fire hall meeting Feb. 9 and the County of Stettler wanted to let the community know it needs help with the fire hall.

Clarke stated he wanted to see something done, “…because we need to get this going.” The reeve added he was angry that the Feb. 9 meeting went without publicity.

Coun. Dave Grover added that it should have been publicized as a meeting for anyone interested in seeing a fire hall back in Donalda, not just people who want to join the fire department.

Coun. Paul McKay, noting he counted 46 people at the original meeting, stated he was disappointed at the lack of fire equipment that the Stettler Regional Fire Department had on display. McKay added that seeing the equipment could have motivated people to join.

“I think it was very discouraging to them,” said McKay.

The reeve interjected and observed that, if the fire hall is functional again, where will all the equipment come from to fill it?

Coun. Nibourg stated that, when recruiting, it’s usually fun for prospective firefighters to see the gear they might wear and equipment they might operate. Nibourg also stated he felt the county needs to get firm timelines and responses from the Stettler Regional Fire Department about the Donalda fire hall.

Reeve Clarke observed there seemed to be a lot of people who want to help in the Donalda area as well who may not be physically capable of being a firefighter but who can help with other work.

County Chief Administrative Officer Yvette Cassidy suggested sending a letter to the regional fire department laying out the County of Stettler’s expectations for the Donalda fire hall project, from the next few months to next year.

Councillors unanimously passed a resolution for staff to send that letter but wait until after the County of Stettler has met with its rural fire departments and gathered input from them.

Coun. Nibourg, who also stated several times he was angry about the way this issue has developed, asked that this subject be left on future meeting agendas until it’s resolved.

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.