The Town of Hay River is buying a new ambulance.
During its May 19 online meeting, council approved purchasing the new ambulance from Aurora Manufacturing for $155,764.
It will replace a 1995 model, one of two currently operated by the Hay River Fire Department.
The new vehicle will be delivered approximately 240 days from the date of order.
Deputy Mayor Robert Bouchard said the town should advise the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA) of the purchase and the cost.
Bouchard added the town should enquire if there is any MACA funding to help with the purchase, since two ambulances are required by the town because it provides highway rescue outside of the community’s boundaries.
“We’re obviously keeping two units because of that usage,” he said. “Let’s keep that demand in the foreground to cabinet.”
Judy Goucher, the town’s senior administrative officer, said a letter from mayor and council can be sent to MACA.
“Although in recent years MACA has not been providing funding for capital,” she noted. “But it never hurts to bring it to their attention and to make it clear that having these ambulances is what allows us to provide highway rescue services within the satellite area of our community, including to other nearby communities not just on the highway system.”
Mayor Kandis Jameson noted the town has been fighting the highway rescue funding issue for years with the GNWT.
“They’re well aware of the issue of highway rescue and I’ll make sure there is a letter sent,” she said.
The original tender for the new ambulance included an electric cot, but that was removed to bring the purchase under budget.
“We could not identify any internal sources for that overspend,” said Goucher. “So as a result, we removed that item from the scope of the project and that’s why it’s now within budget.”
She noted that, with the electric cot, the lowest of three tenders was $199,574 for a purchase with a budget of $180,000.
The electric cot may be added later to the new ambulance as a separate budget item with an estimated cost of just over $50,000.
The electric cot helps reduce back injuries to attendants, particularly when dealing with bariatric (seriously overweight) patients.
The town’s other ambulance is equipped with that particular piece of equipment. That vehicle will be used whenever possible for bariatric patients.
The plan is for the new ambulance to use the non-electric cot from the ambulance to be replaced.