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Ponoka County thinking over resolution regarding volunteer firefighters

County states firefighters dealing with increased PTSD after handling more medical assistance calls
(Metro Creative Connection)

Ponoka County council discussed a resolution May 10 that would demand Alberta Health Services (AHS) compensate jurisdictions where volunteer firefighters continue to provide medical assistance while waiting for EMS to arrive, however, they ultimately decided to defer the matter to their next meeting on June 14.

Concern was expressed that AHS may accept this as permission to utilize firefighters as first responders provided they paid for the service.

The proposed resolution stated that AHS has significantly reduced services to rural Alberta and volunteer firefighters left to carry the weight were experiencing increasing levels of PTSD. It also stated many jurisdictions are thinking about refusing to respond to medical assist calls even though it places residents in further jeopardy.

Volunteer appreciation

Coun. Nancy Hartford attended the recent volunteer appreciation ceremony in Rimbey and received a 25 year award.

Oilfield theft

The recent Central Alberta Oilfield and Industry Crime Prevention meeting noted criminals are now targeting inexpensive components. While these were minor components, the downtime being experienced was costing operators large amounts of money.

Wheelchair van replacement

Coun. Mark Matejka advised that the Ponoka Wheelchair Van Society had received funding from volunteering at a local casino. A smaller van to replace the existing wheelchair van would cost approximately $95,000.

Home Care services

Matejka said AHS was contemplating allowing Home Care services to be provided through other venues. This could negatively impact the funding received by the local Family and Community Support Services for providing this service.

Senior services boards

Coun. Bryce Liddle noted that there was still talk of amalgamating senior services boards. He expressed concern that the bureaucracy would remove the local component from organizations such as Rimoka.

Appointment of weed inspectors

Council appointed Evan Buist, Alex Merce and Rylan Hagemann as weed inspectors.

Red Deer River Watershed Alliance

Rosemarie Ferjuc, watershed engagement and communications manager for the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance stated that they had worked closely with Justin Babcock, manager of Agricultural Services for Ponoka County, to map the watershed area within Ponoka County.

Cutforth noted that Ponoka County’s concern was that trees and water courses were being removed on quarters to ensure that every square foot of land was farmable.

When the County needed to work around a water course or wetland, they were forced to pay or replace the wetlands, he said, adding there needs to be a balance on the wetland policies.

Ferjuc said she was available to assist the county with discussions with Alberta Environment regarding the wetlands policies.