A key part of the new fire services agreement between the Town and County of Stettler was revealed at local January council meetings and it sounds like this fellow hit the ground running.
The new Manager of Regional Fire Services Ivan Dykstra appeared at both the County of Stettler regular council meeting Jan. 10 and a similar Town of Stettler meeting Jan. 16 to introduce himself as an experienced emergency services veteran with management experience.
At the Stettler town council meeting, Dykstra appeared with urban fire chief Mark Dennis who introduced him to council.
Dykstra stated he’s built a 15-year resume of fire and emergency department experience at rural and regional departments, including Parkland County, his first full-time job in emergency services.
Dykstra noted he also spent some time working in the biotech sector before beginning his emergency services career.
Dennis stated on Dykstra’s first day on the job the plan was to begin adjusting the office to accommodate a new person. However, emergency calls began coming in that day and Dykstra put his skills to work immediately.
Mayor Sean Nolls asked Dykstra his opinion of the Stettler fire hall.
Dykstra responded it’s a nice building that’s well planned out but could use a bit more space.
Dennis added that he’s already been talking to Dykstra about 9-1-1 changes in Red Deer and how the Stettler Fire Department needs to re-work how its units show up in their system. He also stated important changes to emergency communications are also going to be a big assignment but Dykstra noted he’s already had experience with that.
Nolls added the town will be looking for grant money to help with a proposed renovation to the Stettler fire hall and said Dykstra would be the perfect person to help with that.
Councillors welcomed Dykstra to the community.
At the County of Stettler meeting Manager of Municipal Services Andrew Brysiuk introduced Dykstra to council as the new manager of regional fire services, a position created by the modernized fire services agreement the County and Town of Stettler negotiated and signed in 2023.
Brysiuk noted Dykstra had already conducted a fire investigation his first day on the job.
County Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Yvette Cassidy noted that on his second day on the job Dykstra also helped out with two medical calls.
As he introduced himself to councillors Dykstra elaborated on his impressive fire services resume, noting he’d worked for Parkland, Clearwater and Red Deer rural municipalities and grew up on a farm milking cows.
He explained later in the meeting he was born and raised in Holland and moved to Canada in his late teens.
Coun. Les Stulberg chipped in that he was pleased to see a resume with so much fire services experience but he also liked seeing a candidate with a rural background because it suggests such an employee will easily see the point of view of County of Stettler residents.
During discussion, it was noted Dykstra hadn’t been able to visit various fire stations within the county yet, but it was on his list of assignments.
Brysiuk noted that priorities for Dykstra agreed to between the town and county include policy review, equipment inventory and assisting with the hiring of a rural fire chief, another position created by the new fire services agreement.
Councillors asked a few questions about the rural fire chief position, with Brysiuk responding that applications for the position close on Jan. 19, with interviews and hiring to follow.
Brysiuk estimated the rural fire chief could be in place in early March.
Dykstra added he currently lives in the Red Deer area but plans to move locally as soon as he’s able.
Councillors welcomed him to the community.
Local Journalism Initiative reporter