The concept of a regional police service in the Pembina Valley is not dead in the water, according to the mayor of Winkler.
The idea of merging the three local police services in our area has been bandied about for several years now, but with very little progress.
Martin Harder says the concept has been slow to develop for a number of reasons.
"The province of Manitoba has initiated a review of policing in Manitoba and this concept is kind of caught in the middle of that exercise. We do want to see what that could look like, but for that to take place we obviously need the support of the three municipal police forces that we deal with in the region which would include Morden, Winkler and Altona."
Harder believes regional policing is the right thing to do but admits it may take some time to develop fully.
Meanwhile, Harder says he's thankful for the attention the Pembina Valley region is finally receiving from the province.
Harder heads up Pembina Valley Reeves and Mayors organization, a regional municipal group that raises awareness about issues of concern in the Valley.
The organization's final meeting in 2019 marked a first for the organization. It was the first time one of their regular meetings was attended by three provincial politicians; Health Minister and Winkler-Morden MLA Cameron Friesen, Josh Guenter the MLA for Borderland and Turtle Mountain MLA Doyle Pinuke.
"That's an incredible accomplishment because if you talk to one of us you are talking to all of us. We're not there to compete against each other, but rather to support each other. We're also not a lobby group. AMM will continue to be the lobby group for municipalities, but we have issues that we have in common that we need to bring to the table directly to ministers in the same way individual communities would do it."
For many years, communities in this region were connected by their membership in the Pembina Valley Development Corporation. PVRAM was formed after the previous NDP government disbanded the regional development corporations.
Harder feels the organization is a valuable asset that will continue to play a roll in drawing attention to the region and in impacting provincial policy.