October 31, 2011 at 10:33 AM
Langford to host ambulance dispatch centre
By Derek Spalding, Times Colonist
council members have reached an agreement with B.C. Ambulance Service
to relocate the Vancouver Island dispatch centre to Langford from its
current location in Saanich.
The multimillion-dollar facility will
be built near the Spencer interchange on Leigh Road. It will include a
new ambulance station that will better serve the West Shore communities,
council members said.
The central location gives paramedics
access to main roads and will improve access to residents. The project
is an important deal for Langford as it also brings about 60 new jobs
and introduces Langford as a place for government offices, said Coun.
Lillian Szpak, who is also chairwoman of the protective services
Details of the agreement have not been finalized and could not be released, said Jim Bowden, Langford's clerk administrator.
"We have an agreement between B.C. Ambulance and Langford, now we're working on an agreement to get it built," he said.
council has been working on the deal for the past three years after it
heard that the ambulance service lease at the Vancouver Island
Technology Park in Saanich would expire. City staff and politicians got
to work immediately on brokering a new deal.
Construction of the
interchange provided prime access to arterial roads and the site was
selected, said fire chief Bob Beckett, who has been involved in the
discussions from the beginning.
The two-storey, 1,286square-metre
facility is expected to cost between $6 million and $7 million and will
include four ambulance bays. Construction could be completed by July
2013. The state of the art building will be built to post-disaster
B.C. Ambulance will lease the building from Langford
for 20 years for about $477,000 a year. The figures will vary depending
on the cost. The city does not stand to make money on the development as
lease rates will simply pay off the cost of the building, Bowden said.
"Bringing the dispatch here means we now have government jobs coming and we hope more will follow," he said.
"Not only are we getting government buildings and good jobs, but we're providing an ambulance station permanently."
The ambulance station on Jacklin Road in Colwood will close its doors and move to the new location.
Szpak celebrated the agreement after years of talks.
"Emergency services are important in any community and this works for several in the area," she said.
council also hopes that the new ambulance station will attract more
people to live in Langford so people do not have to commute to work.