Westman Emergency Group gets new leadership

Post vacant since early 2017 finally filled

It’s taken about 20 months but the Westman Emergency Group (WEG) has new leadership at the helm.

Matt Hipwell of Wolverine Supplies has been hired as coordinator along with another local individual who can’t be named due to the nature of their employment.

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The two of them will share the position on a part-time basis and work in cooperation to guide the emergency planning and response for the Town of Virden and the RM of Wallace-Woodworth, the two member communities of WEG.

The last coordinator was Scott Simpson who resigned early in 2017, leading to several interim managers holding the position temporarily while the candidate search continued.

RCMP background

Hipwell is co-owner of Wolverine Supplies near Virden and a retired RCMP officer. He says his law-enforcement training will come in handy at WEG.

“As a police officer, you see a variety of events and situations, you see people at their best and worst.

“I worked with groups involved in emergencies like EMS, firefighters, the Department of Highways, and Manitoba Hydro. It helps to understand how those groups work when incidents happen.”

Hipwell says he was first approached about the WEG position a year ago but turned it down due to the time commitment. But when a new proposal was offered that shared the job between two coordinators, he said yes and it was finalized late in the summer.

He and the other coordinator haven’t established their goals yet, but he expects it will involve a revision of the emergency plans for the region, hazard risk assessments, and reviewing volunteer positions and recruitment, likely beginning after the municipal election later this month.


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