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Handling ER Coverage and Ambulance Services

posted May 16, 2016, 8:16 AM by Kathy Carr
While attendance of the RHA to the meeting (over ambulance services) didn’t give the councils the answers they were looking for, it did give them assurances that they are being heard. 
The Councils of the Municipality of North Cypress-Langford and the Town of Carberry met on May 2, with Mayor Stuart Olmstead chairing.
Councils had raised the concern with the RHA that those weekends when there is no ER coverage, that the ambulance is sometimes called far away to do non-urgent transfers, leaving local residents hours from receiving help.
Two representatives from Prairie Mountain RHA Emergency Services, Louise Stitt and Debbie Poole were in attendance. Stitt explained that the ambulances are tracked according to a ‘System Status Management Plan’ – a white board on which they see at once where they are, and where they need to be.
They have “re-jigged” the plan. The good news that she delivered was that, on weekends when there is no ER, ambulances will not be sent outside of the south region (where the Assiniboine Region used to be places such as Wawanesa, Glenboro and Baldur) for low priority calls. 
She noted that although Carberry is situated, as Mayor Olmstead pointed out, with railways, highways, big industry, casino – all potential for emergencies – that our call volume is no worse than other communities. The average response time for Carberry is less than 10 minutes. 
She also advised that Glenboro will be getting at least four additional staff, because they are ideally situated to serve in many directions. That should help with the situation.
he also reminded council that non-urgent calls are sometimes time-sensitive, and there is not always the option of putting it off.
Another ‘fly in the ointment’ is that 20% of 911 calls are cancelled. Either the person refuses to go in the ambulance, or it is a call-in from the highway, in which there is no medical help needed.
Councillor John Anderson questioned why the region couldn’t have a stretcher service, such as Winnipeg does. Ambulances need EMS, nurse or doctor in attendance; a stretcher service is basically a ‘horizontal taxi’ that transports people who do not need constant medical care. Stitt replied that it has been studied, but would be expensive for a region like this.
John later suggested that they pass a resolution and lobby government through the AMM and directly, requesting that a stretcher service be put in service for the region.

New Appointments
Councils’ next delegation visited the chambers after his first day of work as the Recreation Director. Andrew Smith is looking forward to seeing what is needed in the community and has some “fresh ideas” already formulating in his head. He is impressed with the town and the facilities here.
Council gave him a warm welcome to the job.
Councils appointed Andrew Smith as the new Recreation Director for Carberry and North Cypress-Langford and set his wage. 
Council appointed Mandi Blair to an 18 month term position starting May 9 and set her wage.

Other business
CAO Jones asked council members to be consistent with their mileage and meal claims. 
In her words, “They are all over the board!” Some council members read their odometers, while others just google the distance to get a number.
Councils were invited to be a “Champion of the TransCanada Trail.” Council was not sure what would be the benefits or costs of such a designation. They will look into whether they should be applying for grants.
Two lengthy resolutions were passed in order to support the gasification project at the Evergreen Environmental Waste Facility. Councils have been trying for some time to have the gasification project (that turns waste into usable gas and reduces its volume substantially) underway. 
The first resolution affirmed that councils were becoming a member of Partners for Climate Protection and a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Action Plan. It offered financial support of up to $5000 shared between councils. 
The second resolution listed the evidence and impacts of climate change and the challenges it presents. It committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions on municipal operations by 20% from 2000 levels and community operations by 6%. The funding in the first resolution covered both resolutions.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities will attend the site on June 6 (in regards to gasification), after the close of their annual conference which is in Winnipeg this year.
CAO Jones checked to see who would like to take a CPR course. 
A reminder was issued that members should be in attendance at meetings, and if they cannot, to send word to the chair. 
Committee Reports
Archives: The Board is looking for their by-law. Their appearance on the website is a ‘work in progress’. Currently photos are being digitalized and a 1918 grammaphone record is being converted to CD. 
Arts Council: Will be sponsoring a “Ladies Night Out” in late fall. They are also working on programming.
Buildings: They met and went over various needs that have been addressed. Flooring in the old town hall is complete. The Gingerbread House roof has been done. All boards are to send a wants/needs list to the Building Committee in regards to their building, but it is noted that much of their budget is already spent.
Cont’d on next page
There was an issue with the repairs to the front of the Gingerbread House, but the board is reminded all repairs are to go through the building committee. Other issues are the potential water seepage at the old town hall, office windows, fire protection deficiency at the rink.
Cemetery: The road from the shed to the columbarium is being fixed. Flower quotes have been received and approved. Improvements are needed on the mapping, as some are still having difficulty finding graves. A Open House at the new columbarium will be May 18 at 7:00 p.m.
Community Centre: The Feasibility Study people have been out to the facility and are now compiling all their information. Community Development Coordinator noted there will be an open house at Camp Hughes in mid-July. Watch for announcements. A community needs survey was performed in regards to Seniors Housing and other community issues. This has been forwarded to Council. They had 73 participants in the survey.
Evergreen Environmental: They have purchased new equipment and trained their employees to remove the freon out of old fridges. A signal booster is being installed for better phone service. There are to be NO BAGS in the recyclables (If they have to be bagged for travel, then empty them into the dumpster and take the bag home). There are totes with lids available for town residents in the municipal office.
Fire: They still must respond to highway calls. In the case of an accident, they are reimbursed by Autopac. Council discussed who could be billed if it they get called out to a vehicle when there was no emergency.
Hall: Tricia Zander is doing the booking. Councillor MacGregor noted that various groups have storage in different areas of the hall, and no one knows who has ‘what stored where’ in the building. It would be good to have a master list for the board and caretaker.
Handivan: The old handivan has been sold to a private Selkirk health agency.
Library: N. Campbell noted that a new Assistant Librarian has been hired for the region.
Museum: The board has been working hard getting ready for their wedding dress display. Upstairs cupboards have been painted and the wedding display area mannequins have been assembled. We are waiting on public works muscle to help move some things up from downstairs and down from upstairs.
Planning: There is a conference in May. A new Planning Act is being written to include Langford in the rules, as well as update the whole plan, there are open houses being held at Carberry (June 16) and Glenboro (June 21). Advertising and invites will be going out soon. Council was reminded to attend.
Seniors: Met combined with the Handivan committee. About 30 people took part in the volunteer income tax program. The band has been booked for the Heritage Festival Dance. They are working towards being certified as an age-friendly community.

Around the table
Councillor Mann noted that sometimes there is no one in the old town hall so it is locked. CAO Jones noted that most of the employees there do not keep regular hours, and the one who works the most hours (John at the Cypress Planning District) by nature of his work, is often out of the building. It is probably a good idea to call ahead if you need to see someone in that building.
Councillor Tolton noted that there was an Annual General Meeting of the Elks held in the basement, and they were very impressed with the facility. There still has not been an official naming of the building yet. The name that keeps resurfacing is “Ye Olde Towne Hall” There was also talk of naming one room in the building after our longest serving secretary-treasurer.
Councillor J. Anderson asked for news on Code Red or the new fire truck, but there was no new news of either.
Councillor Don Hockin questioned whether there was a need for a fire ban. One councillor had been in touch with Conservation who stated it was not necessary at this point. However, Council urges everyone to be very careful about backyard fires.
Councillor N. Campbell questioned about the town and RM recycling, and why it is costing more to send them up separately. He felt that it had not actually been authorized by council, and questioned why it was being done. This dated back to loads being condemned because of contamination, which came out of the rural dumpsters two out of three times. They have been separated all winter.
Mayor Stuart noted that the new government elected on April 19 will have a smaller cabinet and may have local representation on it. They will deal with the new cabinet, but they do not expect any drastic changes. The pace of change is slow. 
Joint meeting was adjourned. Next Municipality meeting will be May 9 and the Town will meet on May 10. 
Census Day is May 10! Please, please, please take time to fill out your form. The statistics impact government funding that is awarded to municipalities, so the information needs to be correct.
by Gloria Mott