County council slows down ambulance purchase process

By Chad Ingram

Published Nov. 29 2016

County council is pressing pause on the purchase of a new ambulance pending more information.
During a Nov. 23 meeting councillors denied budget pre-approval for the purchase of the vehicle.

It was the recommendation of EMS director and paramedic chief Craig Jones that the county proceed with the purchase of a new ambulance after supplier Crestline offered the municipality 2016 pricing on a 2017 vehicle if it proceeded with purchase before Nov. 30.

This would have resulted in a three per cent cost savings on the $140000 vehicle.

“In addition we receive our new vehicle in the spring of 2017 rather than late summer” a report from Jones reads. “This allows us to cease financial investment in the older vehicle. Council has taken advantage of these saving in previous years.”

However Minden Hills Deputy-reeve Cheryl Murdoch said she was unsure about the purchase of the machine particularly since the model allows for the accommodation of one stretcher instead of two.
“I have great concerns about that” Murdoch said pointing out that unlike in urban areas the county has a relatively small fleet of ambulances.

“It’s an urban and rural thing” she said. “Before we buy the right one what is it that we need to buy that’s good for our situation?”

Jones pointed out that the county paramedic service only responds to collisions where there are multiple injured parties a few times a year.

Plus “a paramedic can only care for one critically ill person” he said. “There is the potential and opportunity to carry two people in the ambulance . . . just not on a stretcher.”

The majority of councillors though shared Murdoch’s concerns and wanted more information before agreeing to any purchase.

“I think the value of the right decision outweighs the cost savings” said Minden Hills Reeve Brent Devolin.