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Picture Butte updates emergency management bylaw

Posted on January 14, 2020 by Sunny South News

By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News

The Town of Picture Butte has a new emergency management bylaw.

During their Dec. 16 regular meeting, Picture Butte town council reviewed a proposed emergency management bylaw.

Bylaw 889-19 — or the Municipal Emergency Management Bylaw —aims to update the town’s municipal emergency management bylaw in accordance to changes to the provincial Emergency Management Act and the creation of the new Local Authority Emergency Management Regulation.

“We have some administration changes more than anything to amend our bylaw,” said Frank West, director of emergency management in the town. “The old act provided a framework for municipalities to set their own bylaws and their own direction. The new act and regulation were specially very prescriptive, as specifically a 15-point checklist of things you have to have in your bylaw, so we had made some small amendments to make sure those were all accounted for, and we were pretty happy with this draft of the bylaw. It is very, I think, a lot more clearly organized than the old one, and the main goal is to specifically lay out responsibilities of our different entities, when it’s related to emergency management, being council, the emergency advisory committee, the agency and then myself, as the DEM.”

Mayor Cathy Moore raised a question concerning declaring a state of emergency, as she was under the impression that if the mayor wasn’t available to do so, it was the responsibility of the deputy mayor and a member of council to do so. West noted that was what the bylaw currently reads, but it would change in the new bylaw.

“The way we’re proposing in the new bylaw would be a single entity in a hierarchy. So it starts with the mayor, as a single entity, that can sign. If the mayor is not available, than the deputy mayor, the deputy mayor is not available than any member of council after that would be able to sign the declaration, and it has to be an elected official, by the act,” said West. “The way our old one was, we were tied to, without the mayor, had to get a minimum of two  to sign. And just thinking on the worst possible scenario, that we can’t get two councillors, we hope at least we can wrangle one for this.”

“When these things need to be signed within minutes as opposed to hours or days, time is definitely of the essence.”

Council unanimously passed motions to perform all three readings of Bylaw 889-19.

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