The Town of Irricana and the Villages of Beiseker and Acme are negotiating a potential cost-sharing agreement where one peace officer would cover all three communities to help enforce local bylaws and traffic laws.
“Fortunately, our three communities are starting to work well together on inter-municipal relations, and this is one initiative to show that,” said Irricana Mayor Jim Bryson. “It is going to help all three communities – so it is a win-win-win.”
Irricana and Beiseker did have a previous cost-sharing agreement to fund a peace officer together, confirmed Beiseker Mayor Warren Wise, but that agreement lapsed about four years ago.
“With a new administration and a new council they have there, it was thought we should approach them again and see what interest there might be,” said Wise. “I gather they are expressing some interest.”
Wise confirmed Beiseker had also approached the Village of Acme to see if that nearby community would like to be party to the agreement, and had received a similar positive response.
All three councils have now passed motions confirming their interest in such an arrangement, and have directed their respective CAOs to pursue negotiations.
Bryson said the first proposal on the table had been a 40-40 cost split between Beiseker and Irricana, with Acme kicking in the additional 20 per cent. But, he stressed, negotiations were still actively underway as of press time between the administrations of all three municipalities.
“Those are the details that are still being worked out,” he explained. “Nothing in the actual split is cut in stone yet.”
Bryson said he was excited by the prospect of once again having a peace officer enforcing local bylaws and ensuring Irricana residents were following the Traffic Safety Act in their driving habits. The town has been without a dedicated bylaw enforcement officer for several years now, which has perhaps led to some carelessness in local motorists following road rules and local speed limits.
“It’s a problem, and it has been getting worse,” said Bryson when asked about the number of bylaw and traffic safety violations in the small community of 1,200 residents. “If and when (enforcement) starts, we will have three or four months of warnings to let people know that we are starting to enforce our bylaws again. We are not going to jump in and start penalizing people right away.”
Mayor Wise confirmed Beiseker previously had a part-time peace officer active in the village, but the new agreement would allow the three communities to employ an officer full-time, and fund the position a little more easily.