Penhold’s Fire Service Bylaw may be overhauled

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PENHOLD – With the town preparing a huge annexation plan of Red Deer County lands fire Chief Jim Pendergast has presented several recommendations to town council to update the Fire Service Bylaw.

He forwarded his recommendations at a recent council meeting on Feb. 27.

“It was 2011 since the bylaw (was last updated) and the town’s changed a lot since then,” said Pendergast.

The town has grown substantially since then noted Pendergast, creating a need to update the Fire Service Bylaw and inform current and future Penhold residents, particularly those in rural regions that will become part of Penhold once annexation is complete. The lands earmarked to be annexed would double the size of Penhold, adding an additional 1,260 acres of land for a total of 2,560 acres. Penhold currently sits at about 1,360 acres or eight and a half quarters.

“It (update) has to be addressed. It’s in my opinion that we have a permitting system (specifying) what the permit allows and doesn’t allow,” he said. “That’s one of the major changes.”

Penhold currently does not have a permit system in place, said Pendergast.

If residents wish to hold a burn or a larger fire than what is currently allowed under the Fire Service Bylaw, they will require a permit to do so, he added.

“(Having a permitting system) will allow them to request a permit and we would have to inspect (the area) and either approve or not approve,” explained Pendergast. “Right now people that live in the rural areas that will be annexed are in a different municipality with different rules.”

Other recommendations included updating the fee schedule for equipment used on various calls and addressing offences and restrictions.

Members of council held first reading on the Fire Service Bylaw and asked several questions about the updates, as well as those pertaining to the current bylaw.

Mayor Dennis Cooper inquired about the type of wood Penhold residents can burn in their backyards.

“It has to be clean, untreated wood,” said Pendergast. “Those fumes on (treated wood) could be toxic.

“We try to (inform residents) through education,” Pendergast concluded.

Jim Pendergast, Penhold fire chief

“It was 2011 since the bylaw (was last updated) and the town’s changed a lot since then.”

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Kristine Jean

Kristine Jean is a reporter with the Innisfail Province, joining the newspaper in 2013. She covers Penhold municipal politics, news and community events as well as sports in and around the town as well as in Innisfail.