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Updated - Town of Outlook, RM of Rudy win municipal award

The repaired relationship between the Town and the RM has allowed both to pursue ventures together.

OUTLOOK - The Town of Outlook and the RM of Rudy find themselves sharing an award that recognizes the fact that teamwork is required to ensure that a community can face the issues of today, as well as look towards a prosperous future.

The Saskatchewan Municipal Awards celebrate the excellent and innovative practices of Saskatchewan’s municipal governments. Four innovative projects from five municipalities are being recognized for the 17th Annual Saskatchewan Municipal Awards. This year's winners have shown excellence in municipal infrastructure, cooperation, and addressing community needs.

The winners of the 17th Annual Saskatchewan Municipal Awards are:

Top Municipal Initiative:
New Mechanical Wastewater Treatment Facility (City of Lloydminster)
Winning practice: Created a new multi-jurisdictional, bi-provincial wastewater treatment plant requiring collaboration from leaders in all levels of government. Resulting in improved quality of treated effluent entering the North Saskatchewan River and achieving a fair agreement that benefited residents of both Alberta and Saskatchewan residents.

Top Rural Municipal Initiative:
The Junction (RM of Prince Albert No. 461)
Winning practice: Created a municipal centre that encompasses the RM shop and office is equipped to be the RM Emergency Response Center. The centre offers meeting space and amenities, and the area is expanding with multiple enterprises emerging in their design phases.

Top Urban Municipal Initiative:
Southland Co-op Centre (Town of Assiniboia)
Winning practice: Replacement of the old rink with a new state of the art recreation facility that supports the health and wellness of the community and has increased tourism to the area. The centre contains a walking track, NHL sized ice surface, Multi Purpose Gym, Climbing Walls, Simulator room, and more.

Regional Cooperation:
Outlook-Rudy Joint Protective Services (Town of Outlook and RM of Rudy No. 284)
Winning practice: The Town of Outlook and the RM of Rudy No. 284 worked together to address concerns raised over the long term viability of fire and rescue services by addressing a need to repair relationships within the region.


Kevin Trew, the chief administrative officer for the Town says it was exciting to learn that both the Town and the RM had won the award together.

"We're really excited, and it's great to be recognized by the Saskatchewan Municipal Awards," he said. "For myself, one of the first projects that I was really involved in in Outlook was working on the Outlook Rudy Fire & Rescue organization, so it's exciting to see some recognition for that. It was a lot of work behind the scenes to make this happen, with a lot of conversations, but it's really exciting to know that it's being recognized by a third party."

Longtime residents of both the town and the RM may remember the somewhat 'fractured' nature of the relationship between the two entities in the past, but perhaps the old adage of 'time heals all wounds' may apply here as Trew says that the relationship these days is flourishing due to steps that were taken in order for both sides to start anew and gain fresh perspectives.

"I started here in April of 2021, so I don't really know what the relationship was like between the Town and the RM, but it's been very well-documented," he said. "I think they were strained, for sure. Obviously, this office that we're sitting in right now was a joint office at one time with the Town and the RM of Rudy. The decision to have the RM relocate to a new office with their own administration has served them well and it was probably a good decision on their part and has worked out for them. I also think it's worked out for the Town, as well. But when I started here, I saw immediately the want and desire to work together by both councils. Whether that was a result of some new faces on both sides as a result of the municipal elections in 2020, I don't know. But I can attest to the fact that there was definitely some conversation on behalf of Mayor (Maureen) Weiterman and Reeve (Dennis) Fuglerud that they wanted to make some reparations between the councils and just make sure that we were all good going forward. I think that was a really good starting point. So when I came in, I found that there was a general consensus in wanting to work together as a community. Sometimes, things are torn down in order to build it back up, and I think that's what may have happened here."

With the Town and RM winning an award based on working together to better a vital service, it may beg the question of whether other towns and villages might wish to pursue improved relations with their own RMs.

"I think so," said Kevin. "I come from a community that has a joint fire and rescue team between one RM and one town, so I see that, and don't get me wrong; the model that we're operating under here is far different than I experienced. Even though the partnership is still there, the model is different. If we're talking about maybe inspiring other municipalities, I think it's possible because myself, in listening to municipal, village and RM administrators, we see that there are so many different models and ways to run a fire department in the province of Saskatchewan. I think that once you get awards like this, then I think others might see it and start to think, 'Oh, maybe I'll want to tap that one person on the shoulder and have a conversation with them.' Generally, everybody thinks that their situation is unique, and you can bring your own uniqueness to any model. I suspect that somebody will reach out to us and ask, 'How did you do this? What were some of the things you looked for and what approaches did you take?'"

Today, the relationship between the Town of Outlook and the RM of Rudy is very much a team effort, with an eye towards the future on a number of initiatives. A new rescue vehicle has been purchased for the Outlook Rudy Fire & Rescue team and is very close to being delivered, with Trew noting that it's the first apparatus that's being purchased 50/50 by the Town and the RM. As well, a new command vehicle that can better assist with grass fires is in the works, and Trew also shared that there is work being done behind the scenes as far as a new fire hall is concerned, including a fundraising campaign that's being put together in a joint venture with local businesses. He says that the Town is looking at a new fire hall in two years, with plans to hopefully begin building within the next year.

It's things such as this that have been produced in part due to the healthier and strengthened relationship between the Town of Outlook and the RM of Rudy.

"The fire and rescue project; not only did it provide a basis for the Town and RM to work together closely on projects and have joint partnerships, but now we're working on different projects that are 'bigger picture' things," he said. "We're talking about development in the town, and how does that help businesses out in the RM? Generally, these agriculture and irrigation businesses that are out in the RM of Rudy, they need people to work there, and generally, where do the people live? They live in the town. So there's that piece that's really important, so we're able to work together and find different places where we're commonly connected. Water, for one thing, is a huge issue. The town has its own water situation so that we're trying to make sure we have a sustainable water supply for the town, but we're also making sure we have a sustainable water supply for the community - the RM of Rudy, Rudy Landing, the east side water users and also the west side users. Those partnerships are helped along because we've developed this base with the RM."

The winning projects were selected by the Saskatchewan Municipal Awards Committee who reviewed twenty nominations, submitted on behalf of twenty-eight municipalities. Selection committee members noted that the winning projects reflected the needs of their respective municipalities and addressed municipal infrastructure.

The winners of the 17th Annual Saskatchewan Municipal Awards will be highlighted in ceremonies at the upcoming SARM and SUMA Conventions on March 13 and April 16.