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Council approves mutual aid agreement

Plans, policies with Rocky View County approved
MVG stock fire fighter
A mutual aid agreement between Rocky View and Mountain View counties was determined to be beneficial to ensure that fire services could be offered across municipal boundaries in a cost-effective manner. File photo

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - County council has approved a new fire services mutual aid agreement with Rocky View County. The move came during the recent regularly scheduled council meeting.

The county is currently in the process of forming inter-municipal collaboration framework agreements with neighbouring municipalities.

“As a component of the Rocky View County agreement, the committee (overseeing the work) identified a mutual aid agreement between the counties would be beneficial to ensure that fire services could be offered across municipal boundaries in a cost-effective manner,” administration said in a briefing note to council.

Under the agreement, either party may request the assistance of the other in times of emergencies.

The agreement states, in part, that each party shall “respond to, and attend at, the location which is the subject of a fire call as soon as practicable giving proper consideration to current road and weather conditions and that party’s standard operating practices” and “obtain and maintain in good standing at its own expense all necessary licences, permits and other authorizations in order to permit it to carry out its obligations pursuant to this agreement.”

The agreement also includes a section on limitations of fire services to be provided.

“Notwithstanding any other provision in this agreement, at all times during the (five-year) term, the parties’ respective fire chiefs retain full discretion of provision of fire services by that party’s fire department, and may make any decision he/she deem appropriate with respect to the delivery of fire services during a fire call including making the decision not to respond to a fire call.”

Meanwhile, council has also given first reading to a proposed new inter-municipal development plan between the municipalities.

The move also came during the recent regularly scheduled council meeting.

The agreement is being put in place to formalize and define the relationship between the municipalities.

It sets out the policy framework for planning matters that includes future land use and development, environmental matters, transportation, and items of mutual interest as it applies to lands in proximity to the shared boundary and defined in the agreement.

It also defines how communication, cooperation, decision-making and dispute resolutions will be handled within the plan area.

There are five overarching goals outlined in the plan, including identifying items that are of importance to the municipalities and items that may be mitigated through the policies of the plan, including “agricultural activities, economic development, the environment, resource extraction, industrial development, energy development, and transportation and infrastructure.”

The plan defines the plan area as ranging from five kilometres on either side of the municipal boundary.

A number of opportunities and constraints are examined within the area, including residences and developed areas, existing and potential land use, development potential, environmentally significant areas, transportation corridors, oil and gas activities, and confined feeding operations.

The plan also includes a dispute resolution process. Should a dispute not be able to be resolved administratively, a municipality may request that the matter go to formal mediation.

“A mutually agreed upon mediator shall be named to facilitate resolution of the disagreement within 30 days of the written request to enter into a mediation process” and “the municipalities shall share equally in the cost of mediation, including any remuneration, travel and lodging expenses associated with the mediation.”

Council set Nov. 27 as the public hearing date for the proposal in council chambers starting at 9 a.m.