By Justin Seward
Cypress County incumbent Coun. Richard Oster is seeking his second term on council and will have competition from Garry Proctor for the Ward 7 (Seven Persons North/Desert Blume) seat in the Oct. 16 election.
Oster wanted to give some direction as to where the county is going with their partnership with the City of Medicine Hat for fire service.
He noted that looking at the agreement that was put into place with the city to help with the Cypress County fire departments, it was not fair for Medicine Hat ratepayers to have to expand their fire department to look after county rate payers, said Oster.He praised the work that new county fire chief Kelly Meyer is doing to maintaining a strong relationship with the City of Medicine Hat’s fire chief in building a mutual aid agreement for helping each other out.
“It’s when you can be working with your neighbours,” said Oster.
“The city hasn’t needed our help yet. But as the city grows and if the city has to respond to two fires, isn’t it nice to know that Cypress County is there to back them up? The Medicine Hat Fire Department has not turned their back on us. We’re working with them right now. Our fire chief is in discussions with their fire chief and we will come up with something that’s good for both of us.”
The Medicine Hat Fire Department needs to iron out details on their part and while that is going on, there will be no loss of coverage for anybody in Cypress County.
“Medicine Hat is still responding to anything we need help with and that’s the way it is,” said Oster.
“It’s a really good working relationship that we have. Yeah we had to start over from when we said we were going to leave.”
He was fortunate enough to get on with the subdivision and appeal board when he first got elected and the main complaint coming in was the size of the shops and garages that were being built.
“I went back to council and I said ‘look, you guys really need to reconsider this because people are coming in with crew cabs now, they’ve got three-quarter trucks. Hardly anybody is using bowler trailers anymore.’”
“Council looked at it and yeah we’ve changed those sizes and we don’t get anymore complaints. I don’t think it’s fair to look at a neighbours building and say’well I couldn’t build one that big and I think I’ll do something about it .’ You need more than that reason to run for council.”
On top of working with the fire chief and his vision, Oster wants to continue to push for road improvements.
He has learned to listen to both sides having the Desert Blume neighbourhood and having the country around is because his priority is the productive non-irrigated farm land which was there first.