Ponoka apologizes for controverstial equipment transfer to county

Volunteer fire department parked five emergency vehicles in front of the county fire hall

Town of Ponoka has apologized for its fire department’s controversial handling of an equipment transfer with the county.

Last April, the town’s volunteer fire department parked five emergency vehicles in front of the county fire hall without giving proper notice that the equipment was arriving.

County council was further annoyed to find the trucks had unexpectedly been stripped of gear, costing the county nearly $90,000 to replace.

The trucks were going to the county as part of an agreement to transfer equipment, which followed a controversial decision by town council in early 2016 to end a fire services agreement with the county.

The decision meant the town would handle its own fire response without going to a regional system.

Town council called for a third-party investigation into the transfer last May and the results were provided in a closed-door meeting last week.

The report found that the town fire department delivered trucks and equipment “without giving proper notice to ensure county personnel were available to receive the trucks.”

Town chief administrative officer Albert Flootman says in a statement that action has been taken.

“After careful consideration and review of the investigator’s report, town administration has implemented internal disciplinary action based on the report’s findings.”

Further information on that action has not been provided.

“The town continues to have a positive working relationship with Ponoka County administration and will use the findings of the investigator’s report to discuss a final financial settlement with the county related to any outstanding equipment costs owed by the town,” says Flootman.

Whether the report can be released publicly is still under legal review.