Whitehorse residents Shandell McCarthy and Marco Paquet are still reeling from a tragedy three years ago. Their infant son was choking on a piece of dry macaroni. It took the ambulance 8 minutes to arrive at their home.

“Marco and I knew that we needed to do something to help improve the response times,” McCarthy says, “So we petitioned, along with a number of our friends, door to door, and managed to gather over 1,000 signatures.”

McCarthy took the petition to then Minister of Community Services, Archie Lang, and secured a commitment to have a new emergency response station built.

“I cannot change the past and bring my son back,” Paquet says, “but I feel some relief knowing that other families in need will benefit from this new state of the art station.”

The new, $8 million building opened yesterday in a central part of town.

Whitehorse emergency response centre

The new emergency response centre in Whitehorse. (Andrew Latreille, Latreille Delage Photography)

It’s located at the top of Two Mile Hill on the Alaska Highway, with enough space for six emergency vehicles. The building was constructed to be able to withstand earthquakes.