By Chad Ingram
Published Aug. 18 2016
Algonquin Highlands township will require an EMS base within its borders before long says Reeve and County Warden Carol Moffatt.
Moffatt broached the subject of an EMS base for the township during a county finance and correspondence committee meeting on Aug. 10.
Algonquin Highlands is the only one of the county’s four lower-tier townships without an EMS base. County EMS bases are located in Minden Hills along Highway 35 in Minden in Dysart et al near the arena in Haliburton Village and in Highlands East along County Road 503 in Tory Hill.
A recent call volumes report for the first six months of 2016 showed that Algonquin Highlands is the only county township where paramedics are not meeting response target times in any category.
The average response time to calls in Algonquin Highlands is 17 minutes and 34 seconds.
Overall for the county 40 per cent of the time paramedics are getting to patients within eight minutes.
EMS director and paramedic chief Craig Jones has said the only way to fundamentally change the trend in Algonquin Highlands is to have 24/7 coverage in the township.
“Algonquin Highlands is certainly falling behind” Moffatt said during last week’s meeting. “Where we’re going is a base in Algonquin Highlands somewhere . . . probably north of Carnarvon. There is public concern. I would be looking for the county’s consideration of how we start a base in Algonquin Highlands.”
Minden Hills Reeve Brent Devolin thought that conversation should come as part of the county’s 2017 budget deliberations. Councillors agreed there should be an analysis of gaps in EMS coverage in the county in general with far-flung areas such as Kennisis and Redstone lakes in Dysart et al also difficult to service.
Devolin noted the county has contributed funds to housing projects in Minden Hills and Dysart et al and that equity should be taken into consideration.
Moffatt suggested the county should also be looking at building up a capital reserve for EMS projects.