Council to step up fight against dispatch consolidation

  • Nov. 6, 2013 5:04 p.m.

Red Deer City council voted unanimously on Monday to publically call on the province to nix its plans to consolidate emergency dispatch services to Calgary.

The move stemmed from a Notice of Motion brought forward by then City councillor Tara Veer last month.

This past spring, the Province announced plans to transfer dispatch services to Calgary by this fall, and the City opted to continue advocating for the status quo.

The decision to centralize ambulance dispatch came on the heels of a recommendation from the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) in March.

City officials have since met with MLAs and provincial representatives in a bid to convince them the dispatch service works best out of Red Deer.

“Since last spring when we were given notice that our dispatch service would be consolidated, (we) have advocated to retain the service within our regional dispatch model that renders local knowledge and expertise thereby decreasing the risk to our public and the City, and to ensure the high level of service provided to our citizens through an integrated response to fire and ambulance continues,” said Lisa Perkins, director of corporate transformation.

“The City of Red Deer is not alone in these concerns and we have received support from mid-sized cities in Alberta who have also expressed concerns (about) consolidation, and who have expressed in their letters that there is no compelling evidence that consolidation of ambulance dispatch to a couple of locations will provide better service to the citizens that we serve.”

Mayor Tara Veer said when the plans were announced last spring, the local MLAs worked for a delay of consolidation “For which we are grateful.

“But we have continued to remain strong in the opinion that regional ambulance dispatch was central for us,” she said. “I think that in light of the fact that other municipalities are speaking about the matter more formally, the government has left the door open a crack there.”

But clearly, it’s critical council ramp up its efforts to convince the province consolidation isn’t in the City’s best interests, she said.

Particularly since the province is continuing to work towards consolidation instead of actually responding to the City’s call to maintain regional ambulance dispatch, she said.

Ultimately, council agreed unanimously to support the Notice of Motion.

“I support it without a doubt,” said Councillor Buck Buchanan, noting that not just Red Deerians benefit from local dispatch, but many nearby communities do as well. “The health and safety of all the people in Alberta has to be priority one.”

Councillor Dianne Wyntjes agreed.

“When this issue affects not only the citizens of Red Deer but our regional base of some 300,000 citizens, I really think it’s a critical issue of us to take on,” she said.

Councillor Paul Harris said it’s really important to have the Notice of Motion in place as it contains that ‘advocacy’ piece. “We have had issues in the past in our community where people don’t wake up to an issue until it’s already on their front door,” he said. “I wouldn’t want this to be one of those issues where it’s too late, and then they look to our council and say ‘Why were you asleep at the switch?’

“So it’s important for us to pass this resolution and make sure we have an advocacy strategy around it for our citizens so they can speak out with their MLAs.”

Councillor Tanya Handley said she was speaking with a local firefighter about the issue, and he stressed how important it was for people who dispatch to know local landmarks.

“It could also be a child. A child knows a spray park. A child knows a school and things like that. This takes it back to our most vulnerable citizens. It’s just so imperative that, in my opinion, the people in dispatch know our community and our City.”

editor@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Alberta male team takes silver in Winter Games relay speed skating

Alberta was close behind Quebec in the team relay speed skating finals

WATCH: Pet therapy brings calmness to Winter Games athletes

Canada Winter Games in Red Deer continue on until March 2nd

Jayda Monilaws is selling cupcakes again for Central Alberta Humane Society

The 10-year-old Red Deerian is selling cupcakes today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Alberta was crowned champions in Wheelchair Basketball at Canada Winter Games

Ontario won silver while Quebec took home the bronze medal

Pride Days are Feb. 21st and 28th during the 2019 Canada Winter Games

Events will be held at the 52 North Music + Cultural Festival

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

Child advocacy centre raising funds through Dream Home Lottery

The child advocacy centre in Red Deer uses its resources to help kids all over Central Alberta

Trudeau tells Canadians to listen to clerk in SNC-Lavalin matter

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick delivered a blunt assessment at the House of Commons justice

Mueller report looming, new attorney general in hot seat

Robert Mueller is required to produce a confidential report to pursue or decline prosecutions

B.C. woman shares story of abuse with church officials ahead of Vatican summit

Leona Huggins was the only Canadian in the gathering ahead of a historic summit at the Vatican

Sylvan Lake’s Megan Cressey misses Freestyle Skiing Big Air podium

Alberta’s Jake Sandstorm captured silver in the men Freestyle Skiing Big Air contest

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

Most Read