Agreement needs review

Emily Plihal
Local Journalism
Initiative Reporter

At its Jan. meeting, the Town of Peace River council talked about the need to review the Fire Services Agreement between them and the County of Northern Lights (CNL).
The current agreement has not been renegotiated since 2016, and although Peace River council moved to extend the agreement through December 2023, the CAOs of both municipalities will be moving forward with discussions about the agreement.
“County of Northern Lights’ southern area is served by some CNL volunteer firefighters and overseen by the Town of Peace River’s Fire Chief Tim Harris,” explains Mayor Elaine Manzer.
“Both Peace River and the CNL firefighters share training and Chief Harris oversees planning and management of the fire services for the southern part of CNL and Peace River Fire Departments. They respond to fires as called in their areas and will be called for shared work as needed.”
CNL and Peace River entered into the current agreement in 2012. The agreement was set to expire in December 2016, and has since been given annual extensions through motions of council. The agreement was created to ensure response times were adequate when responding to calls from residents requiring help.
“This is a separate agreement between just of the two municipalities,” says Manzer.
“CNL’s payment helps for the organization and training of their southern area. Equipment discussions and payments are part of the agreement.”
Town of Peace River has extended the agreement again through the year, but both communities will enter into a negotiation to ensure fees meet expenses incurred by the municipality.
“Chief Tim Harris is the fire chief for Peace River and the southern area of CNL,” explains Manzer.
“CNL has fire halls in its area that the volunteers work out of and Peace River has two fire halls that the volunteers use for training.”
Peace River’s motion included the request for fees to reflect the increase of the Town’s municipal requisition, which is not finalized yet in the budget process.
“Both municipalities’ administrations including the two CAOs will review the agreement and both councils would need to approve the request for the extension to the end of December 2023 and the clause for the increase in payment,” she says. “Peace River has made the request to CNL for its consideration.”

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