The Cochrane and Area Health Foundation is up and running and finalizing some details before seeking sanction from Alberta Health Services and the Alberta Health minister.

During a Dec. 12 meeting, Brian Winter became chair, Dennis Fundytus vice-chair, and all but three of the 10 members of their board have been named.

Two Alberta Health Services (AHS) officials attended the meeting to provide guidance on what is required to become a health foundation. Winter says it is a rigid process that must be followed to a T.

He says there's a strategic planning session being held early in the New Year to establish the goals and motto, and maybe a small business plan.

Winter says he's optimistic about the progress made in a relatively short period of time. It started with an information meeting on Oct. 18.

"We just have to make sure that we have everything in place to go forward. To have a strategy meeting to make sure everybody is on the same page is very important, and that's what the Jan.9th meeting is all about."

Generally speaking, the purpose of the foundation is to support health care services in the community with a long-term goal of improving after-hour services.

Other board members to date include secretary Dominique Racine, John Parker, public board member, medical field non-AHS, Chuck Collins, public board members, business community, and Bob Cameron, public board member from Rocky View County. A representative will also be appointed from AHS to serve as a liaison,

Winter says they require board members to serve as treasurer, and communications and fundraising board members. They are also allowed to have non-voting directors.

This Friday, they will be meeting with Airdrie-Cochrane MLA Peter Guthrie and they previously met with Mayor Jeff Genung.

Once the foundation is sanctioned, it will be later on be issued a CRA number. Winter says they were told to not expect approval from Alberta Health until the spring.