Switch to new fire department radio system in 2025 approved

File Photo
Written by Stu Salkeld

Alix village council approved switching over to a more modern fire department radio system after a presentation by members of the local fire department. The presentation was made at the Nov. 2 regular meeting of council.

Fire Chief Darren Hiron and Deputy Fire Chief Cory Anderson presented the department’s 2023 budget, which included future plans to switch to the Alberta first responders radio communication system (AFRRCS).

The proposal to switch to the AFRRCS was included in a five-year draft budget prepared by the regional chief in conjunction with Hiron.

The fire chiefs explained the older radio system currently used by Alix has some issues with dispatch which are usually attributed to the older radio technology and the topography of the Alix region.

The AFRRCS system will eliminate this, plus improve communication with emergency partners like STARS and surrounding municipalities.

Deputy Chief Anderson noted about 80 per cent of Alberta emergency responders use the AFRRCS system.

The fire chiefs also mentioned the Alix Fire Department is planning an open house as part of a membership drive where those interested in becoming firefighters could visit, tour the facility and learn more about the job.

Councillors unanimously approved both the operating and capital budgets as presented by the fire chiefs.

Getting the word out
Councillors also heard a presentation by Lacombe Tourism Executive Director Austin Weaver who presented a budget request of $3,633 to Alix village council.

Weaver stated for that money the village gets to be featured in photo shoots and in Route 12 tourism corridor promotional material along with allowing Alix to push out its own events and promotional info with Lacombe Tourism’s social media reach.

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White noted the village has benefitted from the partnership with Lacombe Tourism.

Councillors unanimously approved including the $3,633 request in the 2023 budget.

Interim budget
Planning has begun on next year’s budget and the CAO presented councillors with a draft version of the document. White noted it’s for their consideration and it will be discussed further at future meetings.

In a memo to council White noted, “No change has been made to the municipal portion of the mill rate in preparation of the 2023 interim operating budget.” However, she pointed out provincial requisitions connected to property tax bills may not be known until next spring.

Police funding model expenses have apparently increased from a projected $29,350 to $32,000 likely because of increased population (from 734 to 818) and assessment growth.

White noted the village awaits more information on the status of grant applications for work on the municipal lagoon.

She also noted the water, sewer and garbage utilities are now self-sustaining and are no longer subsidized by property taxes.

Councillors unanimously accepted the interim budget draft as information.

Suspicious vehicles
Councillors examined the regular report of Cyberus security services and noted quite a number of “suspicious vehicles” were reported between Sept. 19 and Oct. 9.

Among the instances listed were some vehicles running stop signs and on Oct. 9, a “…truck passing through the village along Hwy. 12 at an extreme rate of speed at 2:46 a.m.”

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.