Minister visits, announces ambulance funding

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Alberta’s Minister of Health, Tyler Shandro, visited Slave Lake on March 22 to announce funding for a new ambulance facility. Prior to and after the announcement Shandro met with local physicians, the mayor and town council (or some of them) to discuss related issues.

“It’s important that your health care needs can be met as close to home as possible,” Shandro said at the public event. “These projects help make that a reality.”

As to when and where the new facility might be built, nothing was announced. Darren Sandbeck, the province’s chief paramedic, told The Leader the AHS planners will be looking into it right away. In the news release handed out at the March 22 event, it said work on the new station is expected to begin “in the coming months.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

“We’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” said Sandbeck in his remarks, adding the need for a new facility was recognized as far back as 2009.

The announcement, said mayor Tyler Warman in his comments, “is a huge win for our community.”

Warman told The Leader subsequently council has some ideas about where the new facility could go. And where it shouldn’t.

“Our council is adamant that we don’t want it at the hospital,” he said. “The ambulance doesn’t need to be located there and space at that site is very valuable and limited. If we ever wanted to add services in the future, we need space to do it.”

Locations the town is proposing are the old firehall and new firehall. Warman says the AHS capital department has to come up with a plan; apparently it did not know the announcement was coming so it is starting from scratch.

“The town has let them know we are able to assist in whatever form possible,” said Warman, “as long as its not on the backs of our tax payers.”

Slave Lake Mayor Tyler Warman at the March 24 official announcement of the new EMS station, with Minister of Health Tyler Shandro looking on.

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