RM of Buckland working on emergency services levy solution

·2 min read

The RM of Buckland is working on bringing in a new bylaw to levy costs for fire sevices.

According to Reeve Don Fyrk, the municipal act has changed and now if a levy doesn’t exist the fire department in question bills the RM and then that bill go on the ratepayers taxes.

“If you don’t have a levy and somebody doesn’t pay the levy and the Fire Department goes out and puts a fire out for them… then they are responsible for paying the full shot of the fire department,” Fyrk explained.

The discussion was tabled until the March meeting to create a solution according to Fyrk.

“We are just trying to eliminate that,” Fyrk added, “Everybody pays and then nobody gets a big surprise.”

The bylaw is the first of 2021 and is called a Bylaw to Assess and Levy the Cost of Fire Suppression and Emergency Response Services.

“It was just brought to our attention because a couple of our ratepayers got dinged so now we have to put it on their taxes,” Fyrk said.

Fyrk explained that they want a solution to this issue as soon as possible but discussions between the department and the RM will continue.

“We are working on this continuously and it’s going to be fair to everybody,” Fyrk said.

The RM is still concerned about safety on Highway 3 to Shellbrook and the possibility of finding a solution with the Ministry of Highways is still a large topic. The RM received a copy of a letter from Alexandra Zbaraschuk who was involved in an accident near R & W Custom Collision which Fyrk described as a bad area.

“They sent the RM copies of the letters and we got them forwarded right to the ministry,” he explained.

Residents are hoping to see the highway twinned. The province is installing passing lanes between Prince Albert and Shellbrook this construction season.

“All of the residents down there would like to see it. It’s just a safety thing,” he added.

There was also some discussion of smaller subdivisions in the RM that want to start.

“You can only have one on the go at a time and so the one that is going right now has sort of been stagnant with things selling,” Fyrk said.

“We are just going to let them keep doing what they are doing but we are going to open it up for another person to start a subdivision,” he added.

Fyrk explained that the meeting, at some points, was at risk of falling into chaos.

“The meeting sort of got out of hand at first, so my next meeting I am going to have a gavel,” he joked.

“Too many sidebar conversations going on.”

Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald