City council has voted to approve the Regional Emergency Management Mutual Aid Agreement, an initiative its administration has spearheaded with neighbouring municipalities.
The first-of-its-kind agreement among municipalities across Alberta and Saskatchewan. Stretching from cities like Fort McMurray through counties and Métis settlements, into rural municipalities and villages in Saskatchewan. Lloydminster is one of the sixty-five communities listed on the contact list of partner agencies.
The agreement allows for lending resources in times of need to other communities, under no obligation on “best effort” terms. Anything from emergency personnel to road work equipment, communications and IT experts can be shared in times of need. Mayor Gerald Aalbers is proud to see the Border City spearhead the agreement with its neighbours and how it may protect each of them.
“Having this agreement provides us protection, and also extends protection to neighbouring municipalities,” said Aalbers. “All the way from Wood Buffalo down along the Alberta corridor and into Saskatchewan. I think it speaks well, as our city, to be the leader on this document and lead the charge. I compliment [our] administration for the hard work they’ve done working with other administrations to get an agreement.”
Currently, the agreement doesn’t extend to First Nations in the surrounding area. Aalbers says that First Nations communities fall under the governance of Ottawa through Indigenous Services Canada and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. The modular nature of the agreement allows for new parties to sign on as their situation allows. Mayor Aalbers says the city will continue working to include them in the agreement.
“I do understand the First Nations folks are frustrated because they would like to enter into agreements, but that can’t without going through the process. We’ll work with them through the process as best as we can.”
Aalbers says he looks forward to seeing partners ratify the agreement. It’s expected to take several years to fully implement. It aligns with current emergency management and organizational bylaws and would see no direct financial impacts to implement.