By Justin Seward
Cypress County council had a debate on their hands as to what to do with fire services to the Dunmore and Desert Blume areas once the fire agreement expires with the City of Medicine Hat come Jan. 1, 2018 at the May 16 regular meeting.
Councillors discussed a realm of possibilities including buying an existing Dunmore building and converting it into a fire hall, using an existing county building and opening up discussions with the city about a limited fire aid agreement.
Cypress County Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Doug Henderson said there are county residents who are interested in becoming firefighters in a new Dunmore Fire Station where they need a home to start working. Henderson noted that there has not been any discussion on the future of this hall.
The notion from councillors was that there could be a strong possibility of purchasing the Outlaw Collision building in Dunmore and converting it into a fire hall.
“I think cramming people into makeshift things is not a good way to start a new fire department,” said Coun. Ernest Mudie. “I think we can a buy a building as good as or better as back here (in the court yard).”
Coun. Dustin Vossler agreed with Mudie for having a fire station by the county offices. However, he does not want council to make a quick decision on the matter.
“I think it would work quite fine,” said Vossler. “It might be able to accommodate some of our other county services.”
Reeve Darcy Geigle and Coun. Garry Lentz also spoke in favour of purchasing a building.
However, Coun. Richard Oster said small steps need to be taken as the county does not need to buy or rent anything and work with what they have. “You guys are talking about spending over $1 million like it’s nothing and to me it’s a lot of money ,” said Oster. “We don’t know where we’re going. We don’t know what we need and that’s why we have a fire chief who’s going to tell us where we’re going to go. Right now, we’re talking we want a place to store two fire vehicles and a place for training. That’s all we need right now.”
Couns. Dan Hamilton, Alf Belyea, Arts Squire spoke in favour of utilizing the buildings on the county office property.
Coun. LeRay Pahl put the motions forward to have the county sit down with the city and discuss a limited fire agreement, which was passed with an 8-1 vote. Pahl also put a motion on the table to have staff come back with more information on what options will be best suited and brought back to the next council meeting. The vote was 6-3 in favour.
No bovine TB in elk hunt
Cypress County council learned through test results that there were no cases of bovine TB among the elk population at CFB Suffield during the 2016-2017 hunting season. The test results came after the lymph node assessments revealed 1,258 total elk were harvested in CFB Suffield and 378 heads were submitted for CWD testing. There was no visible lesions on the lymph nodes.
Library board rounded out
Council passed the motion to appoint David Dennis as the public member representing the area served by the Graham Community Library Association for a term of two years on the Cypress County Library Board.