By Justin Seward
County of Forty Mile council passed all three readings for the changes to the municipality’s Fire Bylaw on Aug. 25.
The county has been working a couple of main changes that County Reeve Steve Wikkerink spoke about.
“We’ve changed it so that the fire chief will have flexibility in having a fire restriction in one part of the county and maybe not in another,” said Wikkerink.
“So, weather up in the north—irrigation belt—is in good condition and we can still let people have campfires and stuff. But the south half of the county is just so super dry, we can’t allow that ,and the bylaw here is going to let them do that.”
Forty Mile Park and Golden Sheaf Park will both be allowed to still have campfires under the fire restriction category in the new bylaw.
“Right now, they’re lumped together with everybody under a fire ban—so they can’t have campfires—but under this new one, we’re going to make provisions so the parks can continue to have campfires more during the summer than maybe what’s happened in the last few years,” said Wikkerink.
The county hopes to see people gravitate towards incinerators, which can be used longer into a dry season compared to a barrel or open pit.
“They (incinerators) keep the sparks in way batter and it’s just another tool to reduce the fire risk for everybody,” said Wikkerink.
Kale Porteous Memorial Splash Park
Council was presented with the Kale Porteous Memorial Splash Park project by the fundraising committee members from the Troy Loney Golf Classic. Councillors voted to postpone a funding decision until the next meeting after having a discussion.
“The presentation was well done,” said Wikkerink.
“It’s obvious that the whole project is receiving excellent support from both Bow Island and the County of Forty Mile and even out into Cypress County. I mean the Porteous name and the Laidlaw name—those are both very well-known names in lots of communities around southern Alberta. So, it doesn’t surprise us at all that they’re getting the type of support they’re getting.”
The county has seen some significant progress with the clean-up efforts in Etzikom.
“Some of us have driven through there lately, another councillor drove through there just on Tuesday to have a look before our meeting, and yeah there’s been a lot done,” said Wikkerink.
“You can definitely tell that some mowing has been done, there (has) been some tree trimming done, some unsecured buildings have been boarded up. So, it’s encouraging to see the work that is being done. It’s definitely improved a lot. Now there’s still some properties that haven’t had anything done on them and that’s disappointing.”
The county was called out on social media for their own maintenance of certain areas.
“ I think some of the property had some attention given to it already but it did need a little bit more,” he said.
“Our Ag department was getting back in there to finish up some trimming in the park and over at one of our shops and our public facility, there’s some stuff there that needed to be cleaned up. We were challenged with, ‘Hey if you want the community cleaned up, you’ve got to keep your own stuff cleaned up.’”
The county had their dates mixed up as the original clean up deadline was supposed to be Aug. 23, but supposed to be the first week in September.
Coun. Stacey Barrows informed council that the Canadian Badlands executive committee has made a motion to dissolve.