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July 18, 2024 Taber

Town backs community partnerships

Posted on February 15, 2022 by Maple Creek
LEN BARKMAN

The Town of Maple Creek has taken the first step in forming a partnership with local municipalities, villages and towns.
The idea is for area communities to pool resources in the pursuit of common interests and goals.
It could lead to:
• A regional fire chief;
• Improved ambulance services;
• Expanded healthcare capabilities in Maple Creek, so that the town has the hospital it was promised;
• Community projects, such as Maple Creek’s bid to build a new swimming pool;
• Joint recreation initiatives; and
•Promoting agriculture
The concept of forming partnerships was discussed at an intermunicipal meeting at the RM of Maple Creek office on Wednesday, February 2.
In attendance were the RM of Maple Creek, the RM of Piapot, and the RM of Big Stick (office is in Golden Prairie). The RM of Reno (office is in Consul) was reportedly invited, but not present. Also present were representatives from the Town of Maple Creek: Councillors Len Barkman and Tina Cresswell, and Tony Goode, the new Interim Chief Administrative Officer.
Councillor Barkman delivered a report on the discussions at the February 8 Town Council meeting, saying he had come away very excited.
He said the intermunicipal meeting’s purpose was to get places to work together and makes themselves stronger.
“One of the big examples that we have sitting right in our town is the community fire hall, which was a joint effort between the Town and the RM. I think that was great and is working very well.”
Councillor Barkman said the goal was to establish a regional partnership involving RMs and communities, including towns like Maple Creek and Fox Valley.
There was discussion about two representatives from each area joining a partnership group.
One of the common interests and concerns relates to emergency services, said Councillor Barkman.
“That is key for all of us, especially here in our particular neck of the woods, Maple Creek, being central to a lot of the RMs around us.
“We talked about in that particular partnership, the possibility of having a regional fire chief that would be for the whole area. That is something that I think has been talked about before too.”
The ambulance service in remote areas was also discussed. It was suggested that a study should be done into a recently established private ambulance service in Gull Lake to see how it is working.
Another talking point, said Councillor Barkman, was maximizing use of hospital facilities in Maple Creek.
The hope is that partnerships could lead to a larger lobbying voice for the medical facilities that residents were promised.
“Another area of common interest or concern would be community projects,” said Councillor Barkman. “One of them is a pool. Communities all around would specifically use that.
“In talking about that we talked about the aspect of having a joint recreation because the recreation that we have in our town is used by not just Maple Creek. It is used by surrounding areas that come in and use our facilities. That is something that would also be a common interest.”
Agriculture was another topic debated that bore relevance to Maple Creek, said Councillor Barkman.
“If agriculture is not doing well out there, we are probably not going to be doing that well either because we depend a lot on that too. What happens out there affects us as a town. So, that’s something we can definitely be together on.
“We have a lot of things in town that are run separately. There is a lot more strength and value if we came together and pooled our resources and worked together.”
Councillor Betty Abbott expressed excitement about the intermunicipal meeting.
“The idea of working together with the greater community of Maple Creek and area is extremely exciting. I look forward to that.”
Councillor Al Fournier was also happy to hear Councillor Barkman’s report and the potential of partnerships.
Councillor Cresswell said she had been very pleased to attend the intermunicipal meeting and heartened by the support that RMs had shown for Maple Creek.
“When we talk about alliances with small cities, we are afraid we are going to get gobbled up. I think that would be reasonable to assume that Maple Creek might do some gobbling if we are talking about RMs. But the RMs completely understand how dependent they are on us, as well as us being dependent on them, and that symbiotic relationship is really important to all of us, so that’s one of the things I took away and I was very grateful for the statements that they made at the table in that regard.”
Council approved Councillor Barkman’s motion that the Town get involved in the process of forming a partnership with local municipalities, villages and towns.

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