Ambulance and paramedics
Regional government leaders will meet to discuss a region-wide response to the continued pressures on ambulance and paramedic services in the West Kootenay.
The council passed a motion calling for a meeting with the British Columbia Ministry of Health and Emergency Health Services “to discuss the declining availability of ambulance and paramedic services in our rural areas, which is leading at a critical level for basic emergency care”.
“My ideal when we go to a meeting with the ministry, you walk in with ‘yes, we know this is a problem, here’s our proposed solution,'” chairwoman Aimee Watson said. “What breaks down here is that the local context is not understood. They think they’ve solved the problem, and in some areas they have, but where they haven’t is what we need to bring to their attention. So that’s the strategy I see going forward to organize the group meeting.
Local leaders have complained that changes to BC Ambulance’s payment and staffing systems have caused constant service disruptions in many areas. The problem is particularly acute in Zone D and the Kaslo region, but is also felt elsewhere.
Watson said representatives from all municipalities and rural areas of the RDCK were welcome at the meeting, although no date was set at the council table.
Renewal of transit contract
The renewal of BC Transit’s operating contract to provide transit in the regional district was not at issue, but administrators took the opportunity to remind the service provider that they were hearing a lot about staffing issues in parts of the RDCK.
Transit service, particularly in the Nakusp-Kaslo-Slocan Valley, has experienced chronic service disruptions due to lack of staff, and finding new drivers has been a problem for months.
“It’s not like this situation is just ours – the competition is there, happening for the pilots,” Zone E manager Ramona Faust said. “So I hope BC Transit pays attention to that and where the competitive pressures are.”
“It’s not about one contractor failing the job…it’s about multiple issues that have added to a backlog in the system…” noted Silverton manager Leah Main. “We need to do a little more communication about this situation. People talk to each other without referring to the real situation… misinformation is spreading like wildfire.
Despite the problems, Main and the other administrators noted that the BC Transit contract was the only option available for public transit in the area and that they should support it.
“The transit situation is stressful…” replied Tom Dool, RDCK researcher and BC Transit staff resource person. He noted that driver training with security clearances in place has delayed the replacement of missing drivers. “The entire system is backed up. Everyone is doing their best. We’re trying to sort out the system, to get people where they need to go… I hear users talking every day about how this situation is affecting them. All I can say is that BC Transit, RDCK staff and the contractor take this very seriously.
The new agreement also limits annual rate increases to a maximum of 2.5% for the next three years. Approximately 650,000 users use public transit annually in the RDCK.
The board approved the renewal of the BC Transit contract until next March.
Protection of regulations and inspectors
The RDCK will seek to formalize how to respond to incidents where members of the public harass or abuse RDCK staff working in the field.
The council wants to standardize the response to help protect staff like building inspectors or by-law officers called to properties to respond to complaints or to carry out inspections.
The motion called on staff to prepare a draft policy to set out “responses, procedures and complaint processes to address harassment and abusive behavior” against RDCK staff frequenting private properties in the exercise. of their functions.
“We have to do something because retaining building inspectors is really important,” said Area G manager Hans Cunningham, who raised the issue.
The senior RDCK official said work was already underway on the matter.
“We are currently working on a respectful behavior policy,” noted Stuart Horn, RDCK’s chief executive. “This regulation allows us to take action against the public who might enter a leisure center and abuse the staff, for example. We can take measures that can go as far as prohibiting access to the establishment. We may take certain actions on our property. But it doesn’t allow us to take action on private property, and it wouldn’t make sense to bar people from public facilities for behavior towards our staff on private property…”
Adding an on-field abusive behavior policy would align with this new draft respectful behavior regulation, he said.
Among the ideas considered, let us mention the presence of commissionaires accompanied by by-law or building inspectors in problematic cases.
The ideas were part of a series of suggestions from Cunningham on improving the training and retention of home inspectors.
But the idea did not please some directors.
“It’s a very sad day where we have to have rules for respectful behavior. I can’t get over it,” council chairman Watson said. regulate human behavior. But here we are.
An evaluation report will be prepared for review by the administrators.
Hewat for FCM
A second member of the RDCK board of directors could soon play a role in the national forum of municipal governments. Council endorsed Kaslo Mayor Suzan Hewat to run for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Board of Directors.
Silverton director Leah Main is already on the FCM executive, and Hewat sits on some policy committees as a non-board member. But administrators have heard that more than one RDCK representative could apply to serve on the FCM board – the city of Toronto alone has had as many as a dozen members on the executive in the past. .
If Hewat were elected, the cost of her travel and accommodation would be covered by UBCM’s Small Communities Travel Fund, which exists to help small community representatives participate more fully.
FCM meets in early June for its annual general meeting and to elect its new slate of directors for a one-year term. Main hopes to be re-elected for an eighth consecutive term.
John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Valley Voice