Reeve, mayor meeting hatched to break impasse with Sundre
Reeve Bruce Beattie will offer to meet with Mayor Annette Clews in an effort to break an impasse between Mountain View County and the Town of Sundre over shared service agreements.
County councillors, with Clews sitting in the galley, voted July 18 to set up a meeting between the two heads of council after approving an allocation of $76,000 to cover half the cost of new breathing apparatus for the Sundre Fire Department.
In presenting the request, director Jeff Holmes told council there had been no progress made on renewing the fire services agreement with Sundre and said one option would be for council to approve the request on condition of entering into a new agreement.
When asked what was causing the holdup, Holmes said the county had requested meetings with town officials but “they have not been willing to meet” and “indicated they wanted to discuss other service agreements before fire services.”
Div. 6 Coun. Paddy Munro said he didn’t like to hold back on fire department funding “just because there’s some kind of disagreement between the county and the Town of Sundre.”
“My recommendation is the reeve and mayor sit down and have a chat and see what the issues are,” CAO Tony Martens suggested, noting the county had agreed earlier this year to pay half for a $400,000 pumper.
“The eastside servicing agreement shouldn’t hinder the fire services agreement going forward,” Martens said.
A motion to defer the funding request was defeated in a 4-2 vote. Div. 5 Coun. Bob Orr, who had voted with Munro for deferral, asked, “What is going to be the incentive to get Sundre back to the table if we give them everything they want?”
“From my perspective this is just showing our good faith,” Beattie (Div. 4) said. “We need to get an agreement but we won’t compromise the safety of our fire department. We’ll make every effort to sit down with Sundre … I think there’s good rationale for us to move ahead.”
Beattie noted the breathing apparatus was “a valuable piece of equipment” and was replacing 30-year-old units that had been in use when he was a Sundre volunteer firefighter.