By J.W. Schnarr
Costs involved with the impending EMS additions to the Vauxhall Regional Fire Department fire hall could be recouped through increased rent paid by Alberta Health Services, according to members of Vauxhall council.
During their regular meeting on Feb. 2, council addressed the construction of two bedrooms and a common room, complete with furnishings at an estimated cost of $6,000. The rooms are intended to provide living quarters for out-of-town Emergency Medical Responders when they are on call in Vauxhall.
“(AHS) will not pay for the construction,” said Coun. Christie Sorensen. “And if we don’t put it in, we’re not going to have EMS here. They say four out of five are out of town.”
Coun. Kim Cawley said there are few viable alternatives for the town when it comes to providing stable housing for EMS.
“It would come down to them renting an apartment or something,” said Cawley. “Then they’d have to leave their ambulance running on the street.”
“It’s not a huge amount of money, but for the fire department and EMS, I don’t think we should say no,” said Sorensen.
AHS leases the space for a single ambulance at the fire hall, and with their current lease ready to expire it’s generally understood the rates will increase for the extra space being used. The rooms would be the property of the Town of Vauxhall once completed.
Cawley explained the increased revenue from a larger monthly lease payment could go to offsetting the cost of building the rooms.
“We would recoup it eventually,” she said.