Jeff Green | Jan 24, 2018
Lennox and Addington County Warden Bill Lowery said something that is music to the ears of Denbigh residents last week in the context of the announcement that the county has purchased the property in Denbigh that it has been leasing for 15 years to house an ambulance base.
“Lennox and Addington County’s purchase ensures that ambulance service will continue to have a location in Denbigh,” he said.
The continued operation of a service based in Denbigh has been debated a number of times by Council, as pressure to upgrade service to the population centres in the southern rim of the county had put pressure on the ambulance budget.
The Denbigh service was pegged back from a 24 hour to a 12 hour service 5 years ago, and its continued existence has been debated at least twice since then. Over a year ago, county staff were instructed to try and find a suitable piece of property for a new base, but that did not happen.
The fall back option was to purchase the existing building, which had been identified as deficient in its current state, and renovate it. And that is what will happen now.
“The County will continue to operate one ambulance for twelve hours per day from the newly purchased base”, said a media release last Friday, and “will make improvements to the building including installation of an automatic generator to ensure operations are not disrupted as a result of power outages.”
Addington Highlands Reeve Henry Hogg said that he is “relieved” that the property has been purchased because it signals that the service will be maintained in Denbigh after all the threatened closures in recent years, but he noted that even with planned upgrades the Denbigh base will not be on par with the bases that have been built elsewhere in the county in recent years.
“It at least gives Denbigh a foot hold, even if it is not being built to the standards of the other bases,” he said.
The Denbigh ambulance service was established in 1982 by the Province of Ontario, with local volunteers playing a key role, as a pilot project to provide service to remote corners of L&A, Frontenac, Greater Madawaska and Hastings Counties. It was subsumed under the County of Lennox and Addington when ambulance service became a municipal responsibility in 2001.