The first recorded treaty was ratified 3,279 years ago between ancient Egypt and the Hittite empire. Signed in 1258 BC, the treaty ended over two centuries of conflict between the two powers.
A copy of the agreement is displayed in the United Nations headquarters in New York City as a reminder of the importance for parties with different backgrounds to come to the table together.
To that end, the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass and the MD of Pincher Creek have carried on a small portion of a tradition thousands of years in the making with the creation of a new intermunicipal collaboration framework.
The agreement was finalized back in January, and both councils approved it during their Feb. 9 regular meetings.
Creating the ICF, said Mayor Blair Painter, “was a smooth process.”
“This document,” added Coun. Dean Ward, “between the recreation and what we’re doing with the airport, shows a good spirit of co-operation between the two municipalities.”
Unlike the ICF agreement signed with the Town of Pincher Creek last summer, the MD and Crowsnest Pass ICF contains only two specified financial obligations between the municipalities: a $25,000 commitment from each for developing the regional airport (an amount already agreed upon with the Town of Pincher Creek), and $25,000 from the MD to Crowsnest Pass to contribute to the municipality’s recreation programming and facilities that MD residents often utilize.
The ICF is valid for a term of five years, though discussions will occur between the two municipalities as needed.
Recognizing Crowsnest Pass has developed a more urban culture while the MD has remained agricultural, the ICF establishes procedures for differences to be embraced. Avenues for better communication between the municipalities are also laid out, creating an ability to provide better service levels to their respective ratepayers.
Requirements to communicate on major capital projects that may impact the other municipality are described, along with commitments to co-operate in lobbying higher levels of government for mutually beneficial regional services.
Both municipalities have also agreed to provide information regarding funding to organizations within the other respective municipality.
Previous agreements concerning emergency services, solid waste management and intermunicipal development plans are acknowledged by the ICF, alongside plans for the airport.
Future considerations will be given for supporting recreation and exploring agricultural services such as weed, pest and animal disease control.
Formalizing the agreement comes at a time when many residents in both municipalities are at odds over potential coal mine development in the area. The debate leached into MD council discussions regarding the $25,000 recreation contribution, with Division 1 councillor Quentin Stevick voting in opposition due to comments made by Crowsnest Pass councillor Lisa Sygutek on CBC Radio while voicing her support for the mines.
Though not backing down from her statements, Coun. Sygutek apologized to her fellow council members.
“I just want to apologize to council that my views regarding our coal mine had to be taken to an extreme by one councillor,” she said. “At no time did I expect a decision where something I said personally could affect the community the way that councillor made it.”
“I’m glad that the rest of the people on that committee had enough decency to recognize personal opinion versus me as a councillor,” Coun. Sygutek added.
While acknowledging the different stances taken by each respective municipality on mining and other issues, Reeve Brian Hammond stressed the ICF is a document that supersedes differences and is mutually beneficial.
“Regardless of ongoing difficulty between jurisdictions, for the most part it’s provided a new opportunity to open a channel of communication with our neighbours we probably didn’t have before,” he said.
Establishing a formal framework of communication, he continued, provides an opportunity to identify areas of common interest and concern, creating a closer and more open relationship that will help provide solutions to problems.
“Going forward it provides an ongoing structure, a procedural format, for how you can open up another dialogue or expand on the dialogue with your neighbours. I think that’s a good thing,” said the reeve.
The ICF can be viewed online at http://bit.ly/MD-CNP-ICF.
Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze