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Fire department boards for Wilkie and rural combine

Seeing the benefits, the Wilkie Fire Department now deals with one board.

WILKIE — The town of Wilkie along with the Wilkie Rural Fire Association have been looking into combining the two boards to make fire protection services for the residents of Wilkie, Scott and the RMs of Reford, Buffalo and Tramping Lake more effective and efficient.

The amalgamation of the two boards has been completed with the towns and municipalities signing the agreement to incorporate the Wilkie Fire Association Inc. in early 2022.

The collaboration has progressed over the years and has seen the sharing of firefighters, emergency response vehicles and hoses, extrication tools and other equipment.

Almost all costs were being shared 50/50 with the exception of large capital equipment such as fire trucks. There were discussions about combining the two boards and develop a joint fire association.

In order for this to happen the town of Wilkie had to pass a bylaw where firefighting costs would be charged back to the property owner. There was already such an agreement in place for the residents of the Rural Fire Association. Wilkie took 2021 to educate property owners of the upcoming changes and the new bylaw was passed in January 2022.

During 2021 the process began to work towards a joint fire association agreement that all parties involved agreed to. The agreement included the functions of the board, the fire protection area, lists of the assets of the association as well as an annual operating levy and a capital reserve set up by each municipality.

“The agreement has streamlined the involvement of the members and will help all involved. It will also help in the purchasing of new equipment, when necessary," says Mayor David Ziegler said

"You never know how vital and important it is to have a well-trained, qualified fire department with the firefighters. I commend all members of our fire department for their dedication. We are extremely fortunate to have such a group of people in our community and district.”

Fire Chief Randy Elder echoed the mayor’s comments saying, “It will be very beneficial to the Wilkie Fire Department do deal with one board.”