The leaders of the province’s two municipal organizations met to talk about ways they could cooperate more around the province and work together.
Weyburn Mayor Debra Button, president of SUMA (Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association), met with David Marit, president of SARM (Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities), one day past the anniversary of the release of the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth by Premier Brad Wall.
“We believe that cooperation is the name of the game. In our role as municipal leaders, SUMA’s cities, towns and villages are coming together with our rural partners to benefit all of Saskatchewan,” said Button, noting that SUMA represents 82 per cent of Saskatchewan’s population. The two associations have agreed to try meeting on a quarterly basis to discuss different ways municipalities can working together.
At this meeting, two main topics were brought, including recreational and cultural funding, and regional fire-fighting.
Under the topic of rec and culture funding, Mayor Button said of Weyburn, “We’re fortunate in that the RM of Weyburn gives us support, and the RM of Lomond does as well.”
SARM and SUMA will look around the province to see what the “best practices” are, and will then put the word out to all municipalities so those who are not involved in this way will think more about regional cooperation, she added.
The same principle applies to regional fire-fighting services; again, in Weyburn’s case, the city has a contract with area RMs and even with some smaller towns in the area for helping in the case of a large fire.
“It’s not unique to us. It doesn’t make sense for an RM to establish a volunteer fire fighting force when a nearby town or city has a force already. We do have an agreement with them, and it’s working very well,” said Mayor Button.
As SUMA represents 82 per cent of the population, they will seek to share this information about cooperation, and SARM will do the same with their members.
“This is a first step in finding what works best,” said Button.
“There are going to be times when we aren’t going to agree, but this is a good first step,” she added.