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Town of Crossfield crafting film policy

CAO Sue Keenan put forth a motion for council to accept the draft film policy in principle, adding the finalized document will return to council for official ratification in December. Pending that approval, she said it would then be presented to Calgary's film commission. 

The Town of Crossfield is putting together a film policy for production companies that wish to produce or film television series or movies within the community. 

Crossfield's chief administrative officer, Sue Keenan, introduced a draft of the film policy to Town council at the Nov. 2 meeting. The nine-page document includes rules and guidelines for film production companies that wish to do business in Crossfield. 

According to Keenan, the purpose of the policy is to “establish guidelines for the creative industry sector to ensure town property and the rights, safety and privacy of the citizens of Crossfield are protected," while also supporting the film production industry. The policy identifies the application and approval process for film projects that utilize Town-owned facilities and/or local roads, and the requirements that must be met.

“Merel [Jarvis] and I have had some very good dialogue with the film commission of Calgary...with regard to overall economic development and diversification through film production,” Keenan said. “During that meeting, we were advised to look at crafting a policy for the Town of Crossfield, as well as put a photo library together that we could give to them so that they have them on hand when film production companies come to town.”

Crossfield is no stranger to facilitating film and television productions. In the summer of 2019, the Town hosted the production company for the Ghostbusters: Afterlife movie, which is scheduled to come out later this month. Portions of the movie were filmed in Crossfield. 

As well, earlier this year in May, Town staff presented a report to council about a building lease opportunity with OP Banner Productions Inc. to shoot scenes for a television mini-series called Under the Banner of Heaven at Crossfield's vacant CIBC building on Railway Street.

Keenan put forth a motion for council to accept the draft film policy in principle, adding the finalized document will return to council for official ratification in December. Pending that approval, she said it would then be presented to Calgary's film commission. 

She said the policy takes a combination of elements from other municipality's film policies, including Fort McLeod's, where she previously served as CAO.

“We also researched policies in Langley, B.C., the B.C. coast, as well as Ontario and, really close to home, Didsbury's,” she said. “We put together a collection of all the good that came in all of them, and we feel we captured all of it. It was a real team effort, so we're very impressed with what we've produced.”

Council unanimously supported Keenan's draft, with some members adding they look forward to seeing the finalized policy next month.

Fire service agreement

Crossfield Fire Department (CFD) Chief Ben Niven spoke to council Nov. 2 about a request from the Village of Beiseker's fire department to establish a five-year service response agreement between the two communities. 

Niven said Crossfield's fire department already responds to occasional incidents in Beiseker when they are needed, but that a service response agreement would formalize that partnership in writing. He added Beiseker also has a similar agreement with Rocky View County Fire Services' Irricana-based station.

“The Village of Beiseker, right now, is operating a 24-hour manned fire hall that has only four members in the station," he told council. “They were looking to form agreements with RVC, the Town of Crossfield, and the Village of Acme to have mutual aid agreements or service agreements in place.”

Niven said his hope was for council to move to accept the draft agreement between Crossfield and Beiseker to provide a back-up fire-fighting service in the village if required.

The fire chief said incidents in Beiseker that require back-up from other jurisdictions are rare, adding he could only recall five such incidents in his time with the CFD.

“The village itself doesn't generate a lot of calls,” he said.

Council approved Niven's request unanimously.

Strategic plan

Crossfield Town council will soon be embarking on a new strategic direction, after council approved a motion from CAO Sue Keenan to pursue a five-year strategic plan for the Town on Nov. 2. 

With a new CAO and council in Crossfield, Keenan said it is important to establish a set of priorities and direction for the municipality in the coming years. 

“A strategic plan is an evolving and dynamic document that is critical for local government in realizing its long-term vision by setting up goals and objectives in a systemic, incremental manner,” she said. “Simply put, it makes us look at what is going on today, where council wants to be tomorrow, and which actions staff will need to take to get there.”

Strategic plans are typically for durations of three to five years, according to Keenan, who recommended council develop a five-year plan that will guide the municipality's priorities from 2022 to 2026.

She added the five-year plan should align with even longer-term goals, and is a "key component of the accountability relationship between the CAO and council,” as well as staff.

“It would also keep council and administration on the same page, enhance communications, and provide direction for departmental plans and budgets moving forward,” she said. 

Keenan added the plan would also include a public consultation period before the plan is ratified.

Council enthusiastically approved Keenan's motion, which requested council to meet in the third week of December to start work on the new plan.

“This is one of the exciting things I was waiting for from our CAO,” said Coun. Mike Knight. “This is exciting and I look forward to it.”

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