January 19, 2011 at 2:01 PM
Driftwood Editorial - Sounds like a plan for an ambulance station
Published: January 19, 2011 10:00 AM
News that the B.C. Ambulance Service has purchased property for a brand new ambulance station at 275 Park Drive has given an auspicious start to 2011 on Salt Spring.
Currently a residential property near the intersection with Valhalla Road in Ganges, the plan sees existing structures to be replaced by a new building with a two-bay garage and some drainage work undertaken. Provincial government funding is available for the project through March of this year.
We at the Driftwood aren’t just happy because our news staff might finally be able to catch an ambulance since the site is visible from our back window. We’re happy for the community’s dedicated ambulance staff, who since April of 2009 have been housed in what a November 2009 Driftwood article described as “cramped and far-from-adequate quarters.”
BCAS personnel, who had to endure a long and bitter labour dispute with the provincial government while also losing their last ambulance station to a fire, have so far spent 21 months in those conditions at the Seabreeze Inne. While the motel space was thankfully made available for use, it’s great to see the BCAS do what was required to alleviate a difficult situation for its workers.
Since public service uses such as an ambulance station are allowed in the applicable Residential 6 zone, a rezoning application is not required — just a development permit from the Salt Spring Local Trust Committee. Permit approval was granted at last week’s LTC meeting, although the Advisory Design Panel will take a look at the site and building proposal to ensure it complies with Development Permit Area 1 guidelines.
As for neighbours’ potential worries, BCAS staff say that sirens will not be heard at all hours of the night and day, and that ambulances will not be driven through the school zone on Park Drive unless a call comes from that immediate area. Drivers are also trained to avoid conflicts with pedestrians and other vehicles, they stressed.
Of course, this being Salt Spring, the plan could still be derailed by some obscure or bizarre technicality, so any celebration might be premature.
But let’s assume that won’t be the case, and that the next story about Salt Spring’s ambulance station will be for the grand opening party.