County of Wetaskiwin cancels mutual aid over unpaid $67,719

County met with Ermineskin First Nation before decision

The County of Wetaskiwin won’t be responding to firefighting requests from the Ermineskin First Nation after examining unpaid bills dating back 11 years at their regular meeting Feb. 11.

Director of Emergency services Mike Zajac presented councilors with a memo detailing a bill owed by the Ermineskin First Nation for over $60,000 dating back to the mid 2000’s.

“Ermineskin has multiple outstanding fire invoices with Wetaskiwin Rural Fire Department, Buck Lake/Alder Flats Fire Department and the South Pigeon Lake Fire Department totaling $67,719,” stated Zajac in his report.

“On October 13, 2012 the City of Wetaskiwin, Ermineskin Cree Nation, Samson Cree Nation, Louis Bull Tribe, Montana First Nation and the County of Wetaskiwin entered into a Mutual Aid Fire Agreement where the Fire Departments listed in the agreement would provide assistance when requested by another Fire Department.

“The requesting Fire Department is invoiced and responsible to compensate for all applicable labor and equipment costs.” Zajac noted Ermineskin requested firefighting services which were sent, and then billed for. He said the breakdown included South Pigeon Lake Fire Department, $58,919 (invoices from 2008 to current), Wetaskiwin Rural Fire Department, $6,700 (Invoices from 2016) and Buck Lake/Alder Flats Fire Department, $2,100.00 (Invoices from 2017).

“On November 26, 2018 a meeting was held with the Ermineskin Fire Department, Tom Littlechild, Regional Technical Advisor with the Office of the Fire Commissioner, and Mike Zajac, Director of Emergency Services,” stated the memo.

“Ermineskin Cree Nation was going to contact the Alberta Emergency Management Agency to determine whether a State of Local Emergency (SOLE) was declared. To this date no contact has been made with Mike Zajac since the meeting, Administration is bringing this issue forward for Council’s discussion and direction.”

Zajac said the bill is large and has built up over time. “That’s become significant after a while,” he said to council.

He noted bills owed by Louis Bull First Nation and Samson First Nation had been paid in full.

Reeve Terry Van de Kraats said he felt service should stop after the Ermineskin First Nation was given another two months to pay.

Zajac said the agreement states one month written notice.

County CAO Rod Hawken stated other municipalities encounter similar problems, it’s not unusual. He also repeated that the county met with Ermineskin First Nation and had no results. He added that the county doesn’t want to cancel the mutual aid service but local taxpayers are carrying this debt.

Councilors agreed by resolution to give Ermineskin First Nation 30 days notice of cancelling the mutual aid agreement over the unpaid $67,719.

Stu.salkeld@pipestoneflyer.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

57 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Alberta on Friday

Central zone remains at three active cases

Leduc RCMP on scene at plane crash

A float plane crashed in a field near Range Road 232 and Highway 623.

PHOTO: Stampede Cattle Raffle winner

Rimbey couple take home cash instead of cattle

Man arrested in Maskwacis for second degree murder

42-year-old Arthur Trinity Brown was located and arrested on June 30

Red Deer remains at two active COVID-19 cases

Alberta confirms 94 new cases over past two days

PODCAST: Black Lives Matter in central Alberta Part 2

More insight into the Black Lives Matter movement of central Alberta

Protesters return to St. Louis area where couple drew guns

Protesters return to St. Louis area where couple drew guns

Heavy rain floods southern Japan, leaving over dozen missing

Heavy rain floods southern Japan, leaving over dozen missing

At Rushmore, Trump says protesters seek to ‘defame’ heroes

At Rushmore, Trump says protesters seek to ‘defame’ heroes

First Nations coalition rejects recommendation to lift Sen. Beyak’s suspension

First Nations coalition rejects recommendation to lift Sen. Beyak’s suspension

Canada restricts dealings with Hong Kong over new security law

Canada restricts dealings with Hong Kong over new security law

Man accused of ramming gate at Rideau Hall with truck faces multiple charges

Man accused of ramming gate at Rideau Hall with truck faces multiple charges

Hosting regular season MLB in Toronto “totally different ball game”

Hosting regular season MLB in Toronto “totally different ball game”

Siakam says he feels safe in Florida, despite explosion of COVID-19 cases

Siakam says he feels safe in Florida, despite explosion of COVID-19 cases

Most Read