Ambulance service under threat, again?

Written by  Wednesday, 20 September 2017 18:04
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At the Denbigh meeting of Addington Highlands Council on Monday night, Reeve Henry Hogg and Deputy Reeve Helen Yanch reported that Lennox and Addington County appears set to re-visit its commitment to maintaining a 12 hour a day ambulance service based in Denbigh and build a new base to house that service.

“The new CAO of the County [Brenda Orchard] has some ideas about replacing the ambulance with an emergency first response vehicle. That vehicle would not be able to cross county lines like an ambulance so there are implications for our neighbours, and there are big implications for our own residents as well because those vehicles can’t take patients to hospital,” said Reeve Hogg.

“Mark [Chief of Paramedic Services Mark Shjerning] has looked at it and does think it is viable, but I know that it is being pushed for sure,” said Yanch. “My thoughts are that the CAO of the county should sit down with our ambulance committee and talk to them.”
“When is this going to come up?” asked Councillor Bill Cox.
“November, I think,” said Hogg.
“Maybe Tony [Councillor Tony Fritsch] should approach the CAO, as chair of our ambulance committee, and ask if there is anything formal coming up about this, because we haven’t heard anything about it,” said Cox.

Reeve Hogg said “They are wearing us down with this. It comes up at least once a term, and it never seems to end.”
Hogg’s assertion. In 2012 the service was cut in half, from a 24 to a 12 hour service. In January 2016 a staff report at L&A County proposed cutting the service entirely. This was not acted upon by Council and in November, 2016 a search was initiated for a suitable piece of land to build a permanent base in Denbigh, but that base has not been built as of yet.

“They said at our county meeting last week that the new base was ‘not a priority for the former CAO’ [Larry Keech] which confirmed what I always thought was going on,” said Yanch.
“I’m sure County Council is tired of hearing from us and from Denbigh residents over and over about this,” said Fritsch.
“They are wearing us down,” said Hogg.
“Doesn’t the south already have what they want,” asked Bill Cox, referring to a new base that was built in 2016 in Loyalist Township.
“They are buying land right now in Stone Mills for a base,” said Hogg.

Currently there are two 24 hour ambulances based in Napanee, and 24 hour ambulances based in Odessa (Loyalist Township) and Northbrook (Addington Highlands) in addition to a 12 hour service based in a temporary station in Denbigh.
Those who have advocated for closing the Denbigh base talk about the lack of calls for service in the remote rural area, tying up personnel and equipment.

Those who advocate for keeping the service talk about distance and the role the Denbigh service plays in serving a large under-served area in neighbouring jurisdictions (Renfrew and Frontenac Counties) as well as Lennox and Addington.
The Denbigh service was initially set up by the Province of Ontario because of the communities location at the junction of two provincially significant arterial roads (Hwy.’s 41 and 28) in order to serve the vast, underpopulated region. Ever since ambulance service was downloaded and the Denbigh service has come under the budget of Lennox and Addington County, questions about its financial viability have been raised. Overtures to Frontenac and Renfrew Counties’ to help fund the service, beyond paying a fee for service for cross-border calls, have been rebuffed.

Other items from AH Council

Waste Disposal fees
A revised waste disposal fee schedule was presented to Council. It includes a fee of $15 for a truck or single axle trailer load, $30 for a dual axle load, and fees of $35 for a trailer/truck load of shingles, $100 for fiberglass boats, etc. Clear AH logo bags are required for all waste not covered in the schedule, and tires, e-waste and freon-free appliances can be disposed of for free. Large loads of construction waste, anything larger than a dual axle trailer, are no longer accepted at Addington Highlands Waste sites.
The new schedule will be presented to waste site attendants for comment, and will be back before Council for adoption, likely at the October 2 meeting at 1pm in Flinton.
Fees waived for NAEC
In response to a request from North Addington Education Centre staff, fees for use of the Flinton Hall for Christmas and Spring formals, and for use of the ball diamond rink for tournaments and other uses, will no longer be charged to the student council.
Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund Top up Component application.
AH has applied for a $877,500 to cover 90% of the costs to rehabilitate 2.8 kilometres of the Mattawatchan Road, which runs north from Buckshot Lake Road into Renfrew County. If approved the township will be required to find the other $97,500 in the $975,000 project.
Addressing concerns at Weslmkoon Lake – After an ambulance had great difficulty finding an island resident on Weslmkoon Lake, CAO Christine Reed said the township needs to look at re-doing the insufficient and inaccurate civic addressing system on the lake. The project will be slow and expensive as the lake has over 100 islands and 50 of them contain cottages, but Reed said it is something that the township needs to get started on, and council agreed.
Dog Strangling vine not accepted at waste sites
On the recommendation of Public Works Supervisor Brett Reavie, the township will not accept the invasive plant “Dog Strangling Vine” at waste sites. Residents are encourage to deal with the plant themselves.

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