Council’s Report – Setting the record straight

Brian Panasiuk, Mayor,
Town of High Prairie

The original plan for this article was to do a review of the accomplishments of the Town of High Prairie in 2018, however, with recent developments, council would like to use this article to dispel a couple of myths that have been circulating in the last couple of weeks.

The first myth is that the town council is looking to get rid of the fire department to save money.

This simply is not true.

The fire department, like water, sewer and roads, is an essential service provided by town. The service the fire department offers the town is very valuable and the town is very fortunate to have a group of dedicated, well-trained, volunteer firefighters in town. Council appreciates the work these firefighters do and we support them when we can.

For example, council approved supplying the firefighters and their families with passes to the swimming pool as a way of saying thank you.

Council also recently approved the construction of a sauna in the fire hall as this helps to remove the toxins that are absorbed by the body during a fire.

The second myth is that Councillor Debbie Rose indicated that perhaps the time was now to seek funding sources from First Nations and Metis Settlements for the services the town provides.

Although reported in the newspaper, this also is not true. Councilor Rose specifically said, “We are certainly not knocking on their door asking them for money but I think the opportunity to explore that provincially and federally needs to be a priority.”

Rose also expanded by indicating she felt council should partner with First Nation and Metis communities to lobby the provincial and federal government for funding or to receive specialized municipality status and open up funding opportunities. One can watch the recording of the council meeting to hear for yourself.

Town Council recognizes that Big Lakes County and the First Nation and Metis communities are our neighbours and we need to work with them to make the region a better place for everyone. We do not need to look further than the new hospital and the reopening of Tolko for examples of how working together has helped everyone in the region. We need to continue to work together on projects like bringing broadband to our communities. Together we have much more of a voice.

What is true is council is looking at ways to keep costs down. Council is planning to put out a survey and perhaps do a town hall meeting to hear what the citizens’ view as the priorities.

Council also wants to hear from the community about what tag line they like for the Town of High Prairie. The town’s rebranding committee has narrowed possible taglines down to three choices and would like people to go to the town’s website and complete a short survey to give us your thoughts on the three options.

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