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WHEREAS the Municipal Wildfire Assistance Program (MWAP) was developed to assist municipalities outside of the Forest Protection Area (FPA) with suppression costs resulting from catastrophic wildfire incidents; AND WHEREAS there continues to be a perceived significant inequity between municipalities who are within a FPA and those who are not; AND WHEREAS the MWAP only provides funding to municipalities for 75% of eligible costs that exceed a base amount of $25 per capita, failing to address a municipalitys ability to pay; AND WHEREAS program guidelines are unclear with respect to what may or may not be eligible for funding;AND WHEREAS municipalities were not afforded sufficient opportunity for input into the development of the program;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to undertake an immediate review of the Municipal Wildfire Assistance Program in consultation with the AAMDC.
If a municipality is fortunate enough to be within a FPA, wildfire falls under the jurisdiction/responsibility of Alberta Sustainable Resource Development and there is no cost to that municipality for wildfire suppression. This creates a significant inequity among municipalities.The Municipal Wildfire Assistance Program was established to address those municipalities that are not within an FPA. It contains a ‘deductible’ which results in a municipality being responsible for the first $25 per capita, and funds costs in excess of the deductible on a 75/25 provincial/municipal cost-share basis. This formula does not address a municipality’s ‘ability to pay’ and should be modified accordingly.The program concept is perceived as a step in the right direction, and the efforts of those who developed the program in good faith were well-intentioned and very much appreciated. At the same time, it is suggested that the program development did not provide adequate time for municipalities to provide feedback, and municipal concerns should be reviewed in order to allow municipalities a greater degree of input into its development.
The AAMDC has no resolutions currently in effect with respect to this issue.