The Town of Altona will once again have a local primary Municipal Emergency Coordinator.
In years past, that person was resident Bob Stoesz, and more recently the job was contracted out to Commissionaires, a private, non-profit security agency that offers a wide range of services.
"They worked with us through the water incident that we experienced this spring, and we were very happy with the work that they provided - leadership, experience and some sort of depth because it came with more than just one person. We felt, as we went through that, it was a good relationship and we were happy with the process. On the other hand, someone who knows our community, lives here and knows the people involved, there's an intrinsic value in that as well," said Mayor Al Friesen.

That value, noted the Town, is community engagement which it believes will make it possible to take the job to the next level more quickly by creating a deeper bench of trained volunteers to assist with future emergency events.

And who does the Town feel will meet these needs? It is outgoing Police Chief, Perry Batchelor, who will assume the role upon his retirement in September.

"Perry's retirement gave us the opportunity to hire someone who knows the community, he is plugged into the needs of the community and importantly, would recognize potential trouble spots because he lives here. And I guess his profile and background that we fill will help attract volunteers. So people have already had some sort of relationship with Perry and he may be able to access that knowing more of the players that are involved," added Friesen. 

Batchelor will also take over the training and planning that comes with the job.

"With his background as a police chief and in the military, he would see the importance of that kind of training," said Friesen. "But again, we want to make sure that we are undergoing certain exercises away from any potential emergency because that way when something does happen, we are ready."

The Town will continue to keep Commissionaires on contract as secondary/backup support in case it is required.