An important council meeting is coming up in Strathmore this month as councilors for Wheatland County vote on the new Fire Services Bylaw.
There have been concerns in some communities, including those in East Wheatland, that the county wants to take over local firefighting services. But the information officer for Wheatland County says that couldn't be further from the truth.
"It's setting the framework up so that we can continue to have agreements with the individual fire associations in all of the different communities as well as well as those that don't have their own fire associations, but those that do have fire associations will remain having a fire association," outlined Lisa Bastarache.
The bylaw puts many decisions, including equipment purchases, under the authority of a Regional Fire Chief who works with the local fire associations, including locally elected fire chiefs.
"Because it is our responsibility and we are liable, we need to make sure that they have proper equipment, which we're doing anyway," argued Bastarache. "We're taking that responsibility and we're going to pay for 100 per cent of that. If they want anything additional, different lights on the truck or anything that's beyond what we're purchasing, they can go ahead and continue to do fundraising."
The Wheatland County Fire Services Bylaw received first reading from County Council in July and is back on August 14 for second and, possibly, third readings.
"We've just posted the council agenda on our website and it has that entire list of all the questions that came in from the associations and the firefighters themselves," expressed Bastarache. "Council will then vote on that (and) if it looks good and they're happy with it they can give it second reading and they can do third reading that day or they can come back for third reading if they want changes made to it."