Jeff Green | Mar 16, 2016
Lennox and Addington County Council is preparing to debate closing its 12-hour ambulance service in Denbigh and transferring it to a base in Loyalist Township. In a last ditch attempt to save the base, L&A wrote a letter to Frontenac, Renfrew, and Hastings counties, asking each of them if they are “prepared to assume a greater financial responsibility for the ambulance service located at Denbigh in order to maintain the service for your citizens”. In a report to Frontenac County Council, CAO Kelly Pender recommended against Frontenac County providing supplementary funding to L&A to keep the base open.
Pender said that providing funding to subsidize the operation of a service in another township runs contrary to the established practice of only paying neighbouring districts for actual cross-border ambulance calls.
“The request from the County of Lennox and Addington [is] to assume a larger share of the cost of operating the Denbigh base. This request is contrary to the general intent of a seamless service delivery model and represents a shift from the generally accepted “incremental” cost recovery system. It is not a model that can be supported by staff,” wrote Pender.
He then wrote that there “may be opportunities to investigate alternative management models that would allow L&A to enhance their service delivery while achieving a measure of cost containment,” although the report contains no details about those models. The closest base to Denbigh that is located in Frontenac County is the one at Robertsville, close to an hour's drive away.
Renfrew and Hastings counties will be considering the request from L&A at their respective meetings later this month.
The Denbigh base responds to 133 calls per year, on average. Of those 34, about 25% are located in Frontenac County.
The L&A proposal is for Frontenac County to pay 25% of the $750,000 annual cost of maintaining the service, phased in over three years. That would translate into $62,500 this year; $125,000 in 2017; and $187,500 in 2018 and annually thereafter.