TREENA MIELKE/Rimbey Review
A sweet deal for Rimbey Ambulance Service that will see the company purchased by Associated Ambulance & Service (Whitecourt) Ltd. appears to be one step closer to reality.
A representative from Alberta Health Services contacted Town of Rimbey CAO last week confirming that the province approved the transfer of the lease the town has with the service to Associated Ambulance — subject to certain conditions being met.
Tony Goode said the telephone call came as somewhat of a surprise as the province had four to six weeks to respond to the request for approval.
“I was very surprised. However the day they received our request they were having a meeting and, no doubt, it was discussed. It was more timing than luck.”
Darren Sandbeck, executive director of Calgary Central Zone for EMS operations for Alberta Health Services, confirmed that the province has approved the agreement, pending conditions.
“The conditions are that the development of the transfer plan needs to be done so we have the comfort of a seamless transition.”
Sandbeck said AHS is familiar with Associated Ambulance & Service (Whitecourt) Ltd.
“We know the contractor and are familiar and comfortable with their service model,” he said.
Sandbeck said Rimbey is the first community to propose to sell their ambulance service to another provider. Other communities who have terminated their ambulance agreements have simply turned the service back to the province.
“I expect other municipalities will be watching to see how this all unfolds,” he said.
Paul Kennedy, director of operations for Associated Ambulance & Service (Whitecourt) Ltd., said he is expecting a seamless transition.
“I don’t perceive there will be an issue and am hopeful that the transition goes ahead with the town and the existing employees.”
He said Associated plans to look at rehiring present employees, adding that the ambulance service would remain a basic life support system. However, he said Associated would honor the town’s request to AHS to change to advanced life support, if approval is given.
He didn’t predict a time line as to when Associated would take over Rimbey Ambulance Service, noting AHS’s approval was dependent on conditions being met.
“We’re ready to go,” he said.
“We’re hoping to have it done by July.”
The town owns two ambulances that are under a contract with AHS.
Council accepted an offer to purchase the service from Associated for $448,885.01 at a special meeting held May 4.