Alberta Health Services looking to set up EMS station at firehall
Airdrie City council unanimously agreed to enter into negotiations with Alberta Health Services (AHS) to locate an interim EMS station to the Chinook Winds Fire Hall, Sept. 3.
A move-in date has not yet been set, though AHS’ current lease at the Bethany Health Centre ends on Oct. 31. EMS workers have called Bethany Care Health Centre their temporary home for close to a year and have been actively seeking land for a permanent facility on the west side of Airdrie with minimal success.
EMS responders Nick Thain and Don Allan approached City council on Sept. 3, to suggest the Main Street firehall be used as an interim location. The hall is currently occupied by the Airdrie Fire Department, the City’s Parks Department and the 2014 Alberta Summer Games staff.
“It’s critical that we maintain a station on the west side of Airdrie as this is where a high percentage of our calls come from,” said Thain.
During his presentation, Thain said four per cent of the city’s emergency calls originate from the Bethany Care Centre, about three per cent come from Cedarwood Station and two-and-half per cent are called in from Luxstone Manor, all located on the west side of the tracks.
Concerns were brought forward by Alderman Ron Chapman who said the Main Street location is not far enough west. The Chinook Winds firehall is located at 2525 Chinook Winds Dr. in the city’s southwest corridor.
“I have a real concern with an EMS station on the east side of the (train) tracks, it was a concern of mine three years ago that we did not have an EMS station on the west side of the tracks,” said Chapman. “It wasn’t that long ago that we had a train that was stopped on those tracks for over an hour where we couldn’t get to the other side of the tracks.”
Thain explained that it is the goal of AHS to have a permanent long-term location on the west side of the tracks.
“In looking at availability for us currently, this station in the downtown area at the old fire station does provide a great location for us,” said Thain. “We do understand that the tracks are a risk and we’ve had that conversation with emergency services in this community and certainly hope that moving forward, the long-term solution will be to have a location on the west side of the tracks.”
Deputy Mayor Allan Hunter added he was concerned about setting up another temporary solution.
“Do we even have a date for (how long) this temporary solution (will be in place)?” said Hunter. “Probably not as we haven’t found the dirt to build an ideal one so this temporary solution could last for quite some time.”
Hunter also added that Eighth Street is a more ideal route to get through the city as Main Street is often more congested with traffic.
“It makes more sense to me from a traffic perspective to have it over on (the west) side,” said Hunter.
Alderman Glenda Alexander mentioned much of the growth happening in Airdrie is on the west side and it is more sensible for AHS to look at moving into the Chinook Winds firehall
“I just think that is a more appropriate location,” said Alexander.
“We as council are looking at all of our residential growth over on that west side so we definitely need it over there.”
Council voted in favour of entering into discussions with AHS to move an EMS station in to the Chinook Winds firehall.
No timeline was given for the move.