Councillors angry after rejecting new EMS home
Edmonton planners unaware of condo next door to proposed EMS station
A botched attempt to find a new home for a downtown Edmonton ambulance station led city councillors to blast administrators Monday night.
City council was hoping to quickly approve a new home at 105th Avenue and 110th Street for the emergency medical services station forced to move from its current location five blocks away because of LRT construction
The new location was ideal councillors were assured, in an area zoned for commercial and light industry and, most importantly, further from homes than most EMS stations.
That's when Wade Kelly stood to object.
It turned out the condo owner lived right next door to the proposed site.
"I'm pretty sure that my bedroom window is the closest bedroom window to any proposed ambulance station in town," he said.
That surprised councillors who turned on administrators who clearly were unaware the condos existed.
"I have no idea how they didn't know we were there," said Kelly. "We get our election notices. We're on the electoral map as an apartment. We pay our property taxes .We exist. I don't know how they didn't know we exist."
It also turns out Kelly's condo building is part of a city effort to revitalize the Queen Mary Park neighbourhood in the hope of enticing more people to the community.
"We have spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to reinvigorate 105th Avenue and that particular location (for the EMS station) ... would begin to defeat the entire purpose of what we're trying to do there. Administration should have known that," Mayor Stephen Mandel said.
"Right there they destroy all the possibilities of what we could develop there."
Councillors reluctantly voted down the proposed site to continue the two-year effort to find a new home.
Robert Sharmin, EMS program manager, said the search for a new home is urgent.
"Right now we're required to drive a block and a half down a back alley between apartment buildings to get access and egress from the station because of the LRT development straight down 105th Street," he said.
"We're already experiencing delays right now. We have 9,000 calls out of that station a year. Certainly we have a significant impact."