July 19th, 2018

City expected to extend fire agreement with county through rest of the year

By Collin Gallant on May 25, 2017.

Medicine Hat News

The City of Medicine Hat will likely extend a firefighting agreement with Cypress County until the end of this year while that jurisdiction determines how best to provide fire coverage to its residents.

This spring county council voted to explore creating a county department as an alternative to signing a new coverage agreement with the city’s fire service.

Last week the council ordered its fire chief to prepare a needs assessment for facilities and also continue talks with Medicine Hat counterpart.

Wednesday’s meeting of the city’s public services committee heard that no matter the end result, some level of co-ordination will be in place.

“It may or may not change, but we need a little more time for them to determine what level of support they want from us,” said deputy fire chief Brian Webster.

At the very least a mutual aid agreement would be standard, though the current temporary agreement is set to end in June.

An item that will go before city council on June 5 would keep the service agreement in place until Dec. 31 at an additional cost of $195,000.

Committee chair Julie Friesen described the partnership between the neighbouring jurisdictions as important.

“Over the years we’ve enjoyed an excellent relationship,” she told the committee. “I have no trouble extending that.”

The last agreement concludes at the end of 2016, but was adhered to while talks on a new agreement were ongoing.

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