Cardston County Council passes Fire Response Billing Policy

·2 min read

The updated Fire Response Billing Policy comes after a number of complaints were made to County Council about high bills received by residents after fires on their property. The policy is very similar to what was already being accomplished under the Fire Operations and cost recovery bylaw. The policy includes a section stating that landowners can request an adjustment to their balance by council, who can waive all or a portion of the bill if the fire was started due to a reason outside of the landowners control. This is basically what had happened previously, but is now written into the policy. The policy has been reviewed three times in this one term of council (four years). Reviewing policies is an important job of council, especially as concerns come up from citizens that the policy may not be working for the community.

Council also discussed other topics at the January 11th county council meeting, including the provincial restrictions announced in December being extended longer than initially planned. There is a flavour around the council table for a more geographical approach to restrictions rather than province-wide mandates, and they asked administration to make sure this concern is voiced in the next meeting with Alberta Health Services.

Administration presented a report to council that included good news that an Xplornet broadband project will be going forward after federal funding was approved recently. Councillors asked questions regarding the sequence of events that will now occur and the sites on which infrastructure will be built. Administration will bring forward answers to these questions as the process becomes more concrete over time. Also included in the report were further details on a development decision appeal that will be held on February 10th via zoom regarding the Payne Lake campground.

Council voted in favour of a proposal to request Alberta Community Partnership grant funding to hire an individual by contract to investigate regional fire and emergency services. This is being done in cooperation with other municipalities in the area and is being spear-headed by the Town of Cardston and their administrative intern, JD Haitsma.

Since December 14th Cardston County has been rotating Administrative staff Monday through Thursday, with the Administration Office being closed on Fridays. This will continue as the pandemic restrictions have been lengthened. Appointments can be scheduled for matters that cannot be resolved by phone or email.

There was much discussion at the meeting about the definition of a fair weather road. Shawn Pitcher is laying a bridge across a fair weather road and county access road to better approach his property, and this has caused some concern to county residents. The County did not seem concerned about having any more liability on this road than on all other fair weather roads that are only used during a few months of the year and usually only by residents who own property around the area.

Elizabeth Thompson-Christensen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temple City Star