HEADLINE - STEWART LOOSES AMBULANCE SERVICE ON LONG WEEKEND
There is no denying the fact NW BC is the soaring economic driver for not just BC alone but it is also the gateway for all of Canada, and indeed even North America, to access all Pacific and Asian Markets. It does not stop there either. The area just north of Stewart has been proven to hold the largest identified deposit of gold anywhere in North America. Miners call it the Golden Triangle. Pretivm Resources call their Bruce Jack Property “The Valley of the Kings.” It is so rich in gold a core sample has been displayed such that an ounce is easily determined just at a glance.
The region is so rich the BC and Canadian Governments have invested huge amounts of revenue in developing the ports at Prince Rupert and Stewart. They have devoted even more capital to completing an entirely new electrical power grid to service the mining ventures. And not just for Gold, but for the Coal, Molybdenum and Copper too. Even CN Rail with Warren Buffet and Bill Gates as their primary shareholders are investing in massive new infrastructure to facilitate access and profit from the extremely lucrative resource extraction ventures in North West BC. There simply is not enough adjectives to describe the excitement and profiteering available in the region of BC encircled within the territories west of the Ominica Mountain range (just West of Prince George) and North of Kitimat to the Yukon border. Hundreds of trucks have been arriving with exploratory equipment every day all year long.
Talk to the people who live in the region however and the story is all about destitution, poverty, and suicide.
The very worst education records can be located in the same region with historical budget troubles.
The worst Hospitals and even no medical services what-so-ever, can be found in the communities closest to the promising gold mines, Terrace and Stewart.
The highways have been completely rebuilt from Edmonton through Jasper to Prince George and further west to provide comfortable travel for the trucks and Albertan investors, but look around the actual area providing the prosperity and in every district, town, village and city we find a state of despair.
The elected representatives of the region are certainly not to blame. No Mayor, Councillor, Trustee or Director can be accused of not trying. They all do and have tried for decades but all to no avail. The Federal government and the Provincial government will not help. After numerous annual meetings with the Premier and his or her Ministers, nothing happens. The budgets are slashed and no pleading, begging or outrage can provoke any meaningful response. Even the local business crowd pleads with Ministers when they arrive, yet nothing.
The route the new, (now almost billion dollar), Northwest Transmission line is taking is being ignored. A short but essential access road into the area the power line traverses, called the Cranberry Connector, remains unpaved and unreliable, even though it is the only way in if Highway 16 or 37 is closed due to the frequent accidents, floods and slides. The government claims they need a “business case
to justify the expenditure.
We have written about the neglect for seven years and the latest news out of Stewart, the lack of medical first responders. This is not a new issue. Back in November of 2008 the Stewart Hospital was in a crisis situation.
with doctors resigning due to the lack of adequate support.
The lack of facilities for children and the failing education system along with epidemic alcohol abuse with continually denied treatment centers reveals the blatant disregard for all people in the Northwest. Six years ago the Education Minister abruptly ended a media scrum
when faced with the difficult questions regarding dead and dying children.
The governments are all too happy to take the resources from the land they know they do not even have the legal right to. In return they continue with the same processes they employed when the British first established trading posts at Victoria. Destroy and demoralize the people and take everything valuable until nothing is left for anyone.
Mother Teresa is quoted as saying, ”It is a crime to decide a child must die so you can live as you choose”
- and that is exactly what all the mining companies, their employees and the governments are encouraging when they accept the huge revenues without addressing the needs of our communities, specifically our children.From Global News -
STEWART, B.C. – A dispute over lack of ambulance workers has boiled over in a remote district in northwestern British Columbia, leaving hundreds of residents without the emergency service this long weekend.
Two paramedics in the District of Stewart quit their jobs as of July 30, including unit chief Cindy Ellwood who said she’s fed up with disruptions that mean the nearest ambulance is hours away.
Ellwood said she’s been complaining to her employer, the B.C. Ambulance Service, for some time that her small crew can’t cover the hundreds of kilometres in their territory, seven days a week.
“We’re having weekly shut downs where we don’t have any ambulance whatsoever and I’ve asked for assistance,” she said. “I’ve asked them what we’re going to do and the only answer I get back is we’re not in the budget.”
She said regional training officers have come in to try to fill the gap, but help has been inconsistent.
Ellwood has been a paramedic in the community for 11 years and up until a few months ago, she loved her job.
She said the service is asking Stewart paramedics to go further - sometimes a three-hour drive away - to help people
“I didn’t sign up to go out there and sit with somebody in a critical state while I’m waiting for an ambulance to either fly in if I’m lucky, or somebody to come in from either Kitwanga, Hazelton or Terrace which is … three, four hours (away).”
Ellwood said before she and her co-worker quit, they had six people on staff. Now, there is one paramedic and three are ambulance drivers.
For the last year, Ellwood said she’s driven an ambulance out to emergency calls by herself and then relied on a responding fire-rescue operator at the scene to drive her back in the ambulance while she tended to the patient.
She said work is picking up in the area and all those fire-rescue volunteers aren’t available any longer.
She said one of her drivers was working several jobs and such volunteers are difficult to find.
“The (drivers) who I have hired are people who are very concerned for their community and they want to help out because of that. But they all have jobs.”
With those people at work Monday to Friday, Ellwood said she would often have to shut down during the week because she had no one to drive the ambulance.
“That’s where I’m fed up, because they’ve pushed us aside and said ‘you know what, we just don’t have the budget to send somebody up for you.’”
“I just can’t sit here day after day thinking ‘OK what if a call comes through and I can’t go?’”
Ellwood said she’s “heartbroken” about having to leave the service.
Les Fisher, the chief operating officer at B.C. Ambulance Service, said the service has the same recruitment issues as volunteer firefighters in certain communities.
“We put a concerted effort within the community to identify people to step up and help out their neighbours. We get them through the recruitment process, we get them through the training process and resolve the issues in that community.”
Fisher said a lot of the recruitment problems cycle with the resource communities and when times are good and people have other things to do, the service struggles.
B.C. Ambulance has been working with Stewart’s mayor and the community on recruitment issues, he said.
“We are putting an emergency medical responder course on in Stewart this September, so that people don’t have to leave their community for training. We’ll provide it right there.”
There are 65 communities in the same “remote category” as Stewart, many with more call volume that Stewart, he said.
Stewart has an average of two ambulance calls per week.
Doctors parking and ambulance access - just imagine taking a patient from the helipad, pictured above through this obsical course. At least they get a massage on the way in!
All around the facility one can find rotten and moulding wood, broken concrete and tripping hazards