Alberton allots funds to buy rescue vehicle

Alberton Fire Chief Cory Jewell asked council at last Wednesday night’s meeting for funds to purchase a rescue vehicle for the department.
He said he was looking for a good, used cube van with a one-ton chassis that easily can be modified to carry the emergency equipment required.
Council authorized him to spend up to $27,000 for the vehicle he requires.
Chief Jewell also brought council up to date on the activities of the volunteer fire department, noting six firefighters currently were engaged in a training course for dealing with grass fires.
Also last Wednesday, Coun. Barb Cournoyer brought council up to date on the results of the recent meeting of the Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board, on which she sits as Alberton’s rep.
She said funding continues to be an issue, particularly the land ambulance portion. In order to meet the levy increase of one percent, Coun. Cournoyer suggested the amount be taken out of the township’s reserve fund on a one-time basis.
That, however, will not solve all the problems, she stressed.
“In this district, it’s hard for ambulances to meet their response times because of the geography,” she remarked.
Reeve Mike Hammond then delivered his report on the risk management seminar he attended Feb. 28 in Fort Frances. The news, he said, was not good for municipalities.
The trend to download more and more services and expenses onto the municipalities does not appear to be abating. “For every downloaded service we get, the liability comes with it,” he stressed.
This trend also will apply to the issue of nuisance bears, Reeve Hammond predicted.
“The province has taken back the responsibility for the bears and they’ll probably download that on us, too,” he warned.
Coun. Louis Collier observed that will mean township residents probably will continue to handle the problem as they always have—by shooting the bears and dragging them into the bush without notifying the Ministry of Natural Resources as they are supposed to do.
In other business at last Wednesday’s meeting, council:
•agreed to send Reeve Hammond and Coun. Cournoyer to a meeting at Rainycrest in Fort Frances on March 31;
•passed a resolution asking the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to re-open 20 long-term care beds at Rainycrest;
•agreed to prepare a bylaw restricting weights on township highways (with the proviso that one-time exemption permits be available for purchase);
•authorized Reeve Hammond and Coun. Doug Mitchell to attend the Northern Ontario Municipal Association conference in Thunder Bay on April 28-May1;
•passed a resolution proclaiming the week of May 3-9 as Hospice Palliative Care Week;
•passed a resolution proclaiming March as Red Cross Month;
•passed a resolution proclaiming June as Seniors’ Month;
•supported a resolution petitioning the provincial government to delay implementation of the Drinking Water Systems Regulation and review its impact on small business and tourist operators in rural Ontario; and
•passed a resolution to support the City of Sarnia in its quest to have full municipal rebates of GST, a five cent per litre share of the federal gas tax, and a percentage of the revenue realized through the GST and PST remitted directly to municipalities.
Alberton’s next regular council meeting is slated for April 14 at the municipal office.