News Local

Franklin wants DC ambulance on agenda

Greg Vandermeulen

With new ambulance facilities in the province costing between $750,000 and more than $1 million, an offer of a facility to the government for free, should be a no brainer.

That's why R.M. of Franklin councillors are surprised the government still hasn't acted to take them up on their offer.

Councillor Bryan Nichols spoke at a rally held in Dominion City on Sept. 26, of the importance of establishing an ambulance service in Dominion City.

"If they were to put an ambulance here, it's just the operating costs (for the RHA)," Nichols said.

Five-years-ago, the rural council first offered the old fire hall as a potential ambulance facility.

They have also offered to renovate the facility to create the necessary dorms and other needs.

Although he said they have spoken to the minister of health, and have seen an inspector come look at the building, they have not heard anything conclusive.

In fact, council was content to continue waiting, until they heard the NDP announce an ambulance for Iles Des Chenes.

Although Nichols admits that area has a higher call volume, he said that doesn't make an ambulance any less important to the R.M. of Franklin.

"Most of our ambulance service response time are in the half to three quarters of an hour time frame," he said.

An ambulance based out of Dominion City would directly serve a population of about 4,000. It would allow 15 to 20 minute response times to Rosa and Tolstoi, and 10 to 15 minute times for Emerson, Letellier, Roseau River, Arnaud, and Ridgeville.

A Dominion City ambulance would also be able to cover for St. Pierre if required.

"That makes a major, major difference," Nichols said.

Nichols said they want all candidates to make this issue a priority. However, only Emerson PC incumbent Cliff Graydon was at the rally.

"We would certainly be willing to do any reasonable renovations," Nichols said.

Although he wasn't expecting it all to happen overnight, Nichols said he would like to hear from the new government as soon as possible.

"Let us know what needs to be done with the building before budget time," he said.

PC candidate Cliff Graydon is no stranger to the issue.

He said he has not only brought it forward to the legislature, but received assurances from the minister of health that the building was suitable. Although he wouldn't promise a PC government would deliver a new ambulance to the community Graydon pledged to continue to work hard on that file.

"My commitment is I will be working diligently to see there is an ambulance in Dominion City," he said.

Graydon said the NDP have spoken favourably about this project, but nothing has happened. "It's just lip service and that's unfortunate," he said.