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Coalhurst council reviews correspondence

Posted on August 24, 2022 by Sunny South News

By Kenyon Stronski
Sunny South News

Going into the Aug. 9 regular meeting of Coalhurst council, Lethbridge County had put a fire restriction in effect for the area. A fire restriction isn’t quite a full fire ban, and recreational fires are still acceptable, however, it is possible that no new fire permits are issued under a fire restriction. Coun. Jesse Potrie asked the first question on general policy in Coalhurst when a restriction is in place.

“What is our general approach as to when the County puts on a fire ban? This one is a fire restriction in effect but you can still have a relatively uncontrolled fire.”

Coalhurst’s CAO Kim Hauta explained that generally, it is the fire chief who makes the final call on a fire restriction or ban, and indicated there are differences between the two.

“Generally, barbecues and that type of stuff are always permitted, even though the County has put this in various other places they haven’t really put a restriction or anything real fast in colours because most are the approved fire pits and provided they’re dealt with appropriately and flames aren’t going 10 feet in the air, no screen on and stuff like that they haven’t generally put it into effect too fast, but again, it’s totally at the call of the fire chief. I was in the office the other day and we were talking about this, and he certainly was not indicating anything that was going to happen. It could change with the heat, we’re supposed to get 36, 34, 31, 31, 31.”

Hauta’s prediction did come to pass, as Lethbridge County did upgrade the fire restriction into a fire ban on Aug. 19. With the fire ban, it means all open fires within the County are banned. It is important to note however that fires that are contained in cooking or heating appliances fueled by fuels or gases are exempt from the ban.

Inquiring about enforcement, Potrie asked if the fire chief would handle enforcement of a fire restriction or ban.

“Not necessarily,” responded Hauta. “We don’t want them approaching if it’s that kind of situation and it’s an out-of-control type of fire, it’s almost an RCMP matter that the fire department would attend in terms of putting out a flame, but generally issuing tickets is more an RCMP matter. Especially if it’s two in the morning, then it’s an RCMP matter.”

Moving away from the fire restriction, Coun. Heather Caldwell posed a question about correspondence received regarding a meeting with Alberta Transportation.

“I had a question on the correspondence with Alberta Transportation, did we have anything that we needed to meet with Alberta Transportation with? I see the deadline is Aug. 12 if there’s anything?“

Hauta commented that there’s nothing he is aware of, and there’s been nothing that has been brought up by council that would require utilizing a meeting.

“They helped us with 223 Highway 25 and I’m not aware of anything else that’s come up in the past year that we may want to meet with them about but maybe council has different ideas?”

Not wanting to put the potential meeting to waste, Caldwell commented there is the potential to meet and simply share success stories. Saying that it may be good to do some relationship building.

With the Alberta Transportation meeting times only being 15 minutes, Hauta mentioned that generally, they would want it to be a genuine concern that is brought forth to them.

“If there’s funding being looked at or there are different problems that someone is having, I guess it’s kind of looked at as like a private house. To submit a request without a real ask may not get accepted.”

In 2022, the Town of Coalhurst has been host to multiple Ukrainians wishing to make a home there, and Mayor Lyndsay Montina brought forward the idea of what Coalhurst could do for Ukrainian Canadian Heritage Day and Ukrainian Independence Day.

“I did have one thing about the Ukrainian Canadian Heritage Day, it’s one of those things that we would like to recognize. I’ve noticed that there’s an indication that we could put up a flag or something like that. I know we did have a couple of Ukrainian citizens join us in Coalhurst this past year, but maybe even something just like putting out a little bit of a statement on social media too that just recognizes that date on August 24. It doesn’t have to be very big but just something just to recognize that. There’s the other day on September 7 as well, they never did merge the two dates, so we could always look at that day as well and just recognize it as that day. Considering we’ve had some people come and live with us in Coalhurst, I think it would be really nice for us to do that. I think if possible, we could do a flag it would be nice to do that as well.”

It was decided Montina would draft up a statement for social media that she would share with the councillors, and from there, it would be accepted.

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