By Nikki Jamieson
The Municipal District of Taber has taken steps to welcome Barnwell to their fire service with open arms.
On March 21, the Village of Barnwell announced they had submitted notice to officially terminate their fire service agreement with the Town of Taber as of March 21, 2017, and paid out the remaining year with them. They joined under the umbrella of the Municipal District of Taber Regional Fire Service Initiative on March 31, and will be building a firehall, training volunteers and will be responding to calls within Barnwell and throughout the M.D.
The fire hall will operate as a satellite for the M.D. of Taber Regional Fire Department that is located in Taber and will operate under their command. There are similar satellite halls in Enchant, Hays, Vauxhall and Grassy Lake as the region looks to combine forces of all its volunteer fire departments for an effective fire service.
During their regular March 28 meeting, the M.D. of Taber council took steps to cement the decision.
The first step was through the passing of Bylaw No. 1903, or the Fire Partnership Agreement Bylaw. The bylaw, which received first reading, second reading, unanimous consent and third and final reading by council, allows for the M.D. and Barnwell to enter into an agreement to provide fire protection and related services to both parties.
The second step was through the signing of an agreement between Barnwell and the M.D. — already approved by Barnwell — to establishing a fire department in Barnwell to operate under the regional fire service banner.
“The template for this agreement was taken from the Vauxhall Fire Partnership Agreement,” said Derrick Krizsan, CAO for the M.D.
Council also appointed Coun. Merrill Harris and Coun. Ben Elfring to serve on a committee as per the agreement, whose purview would be making recommendations, establishing a budget and receiving reports, with the committee reporting back to Barnwell and the M.D.