| Aug 20, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - August 20, 2009 North Frontenac Council - Aug 13/09By Jeff Green

Ambulance base location for North Frontenac – numbers pointing south

An ambulance base located in the Ardoch Road/Road 509 vicinity would be located closer to the bulk of ambulance demand than the current location at the township garage near Ompah, Frontenac County Ambulance Manager Paul Charbonneau told North Frontenac Council last week.

Charbonneau presented an update to North Frontenac Council after a consultant’s report called for two options. The first is “a relocation of the Ompah ambulance to a location in the vicinity of the intersection of Ardoch Road and Road 509” because it would have better access to major roads, such as Highway 7, and would be able to respond more rapidly to calls in the eastern portion of North Frontenac and the northern portion of Central Frontenac.

The second alternative put forward by the IBI group, the consultants who did the report, would be to reconstruct the current location so the ambulance could be located indoors.

North Frontenac Township has rejected the IBI report, saying it did not take into account specific realities in North Frontenac, particularly the seasonal fluctuations in population. They also pointed out that the junction of Road 509 and Ardoch Road is located in Central Frontenac, which would leave North Frontenac with no ambulance within its borders.

“The report said ‘in the vicinity’ of those two roads, not necessarily at the corner,” Charbonneau told council, raising the possibility that the base could be located a bit to the north or east of the corner, within North Frontenac’s boundaries.

Charbonneau continued by outlining the work his staff has done since the IBI report was delivered in the late spring. “We use three criteria to evaluate ambulance locations” he said, “drive time and distance mapping, maximum capture of emergency call volume, and past and future growth development. At this point we have information about the first two criteria.”

What the information shows, using 2007 and 2008 data, is that an ambulance located at Ardoch Road/Road 509 would have been within a 30-minute drive (a standard for rural ambulance response that was established in 2000) of 347 calls per year. The current station was within 30 minutes of 101 calls, and a proposed location at a township-owned property in Ompah itself would have been within a 30-minute drive of 99 calls.

“But all of the information is not in,” said Charbonneau, “I am working with your township staff to get information about past and future growth. Until that information is in, we won’t come to any conclusions. When we did the same thing in South Frontenac, we ended up changing the location of the base, from Road 38 to the Sydenham area.”

“A lot of people around here don’t bother with the ambulance; they just drive to the hospital,” said Councilor Lonnie Watkins.

“I don’t dispute that,” said Charbonneau. “I used to work in northern Ontario and I’m familiar with rural independence. But we have no way of counting non-calls. What we want people to know is that ambulance service is not just a drive to the hospital. Paramedics are health professionals; they bring drugs and oxygen with them.”

“One of the other considerations, is that we have a fantastic EFR (Emergency First Response) team within our fire department. They arrive within 18 minutes,” said Deputy Mayor Jim Beam.

Councilor Fred Perry asked if there has been a decision about the future of the Denbigh and Northbrook bases, which are located in Lennox and Addington but provide service to the western part of North Frontenac.

“We are basing all of our decisions on the assumption that Denbigh will stay in place,” Charbonneau said.

A final decision on the location of an ambulance base to serve the northern part of the township is due this fall. “We hope to have funds for a new base construction in the budget for 2010,” Charbonneau said. 

Canonto Lodge on Norcan Lake – Part of a subdivision proposal for Norcan Lake was approved, allowing for the creation of five new lots, but the second part of the application, which includes 13 additional non-waterfront lots, was deferred until the township is able to receive assurance that agreements with the Township of Greater Madawaska to provide fire and emergency and waste management services can be extended to the new lots.

Norcan Lake is not accessible by road to the rest of North Frontenac Township, and municipal services are provided by agreement with Greater Madawaska Township in Renfrew County.

In the vote to approve the subdivision agreement, there were two dissenting votes, by Councilors Wayne Good and Fred Perry from Barrie ward.

Letter to Municipal Affairs almost ready – A draft letter to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, which outlines the township’s grievances against Frontenac County, has been prepared. When it is finalized, the township will be sending it to the Minister of Municipal Affairs as well as MPP Randy Hillier. It will also likely be released to the public.

Trash Compactor – CAO Cheryl Robson reported that Public Works Manager John Ibey is exploring an option that may be cheaper than the compactor that council has approved for purchase. One way or another, she said, a compactor will be in place shortly, at a cost within the approved budget.

Application for community space – township staff has been assured that municipalities can apply to a federal stimulus fund for community spaces. The grant program, which has a minimum value of $750,000 and a maximum of $15 million, could help the township fund the public space portion of a proposed multi-use township office, community center and library complex that is being contemplated for a piece of land on Buckshot Lake Road near Plevna, which was formerly the site of a Ministry of Natural Resources office. Township staff has been working on the application with Jewell Engineering.

Council approved sending in the application.

MNR and AAFNA – CAO Robson reported that the Ministry of Natural Resources had no information about the land clearing that has been done recently by the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation at the Pine Lake boat launch site. 

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