Proposed fire services bylaw withdrawn

Concerns with some restrictions forces administration back to the drawing board

A proposed fire services bylaw for the Town of Ponoka was removed from consideration after concerns were raised that certain sections of the proposed text created difficulties for fire departments other than the Ponoka Fire Department.

The proposed bylaw 367-16 was removed from town council’s agenda Tuesday, May 10 and rescheduled for committee of the whole meeting to allow further discussion on it.

The biggest issue appears to be over section 37, which discusses use of the green flashing lights, something volunteer fire departments use when responding to a call.

The clause states: “No person other than a volunteer or full-time firefighter responding to an emergency call shall operate a vehicle displaying a green flashing light within the town boundaries. Use of the flashing green light shall not exempt a person from any of the provisions contained within the Traffic Safety Act and regulations hereto.”

A read of the appendix for section 37 clarifies that a volunteer firefighter is considered only one who is a Town of Ponoka volunteer firefighter and did not make allowance for members of the Ponoka County East District Fire Department. The county fire department also has a fire hall within the Town of Ponoka boundaries.

The proposal had set out a scheme to fine offenders starting at $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second and $1,000 for the third.

If it would have passed, members of the county fire department would have been in contravention of the bylaw and subject to fines if using green flashing lights.

 

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