Premier Christy Clark announced the new ambulances in September.

Still waiting for new ambulances in Maple Ridge

B.C. paramedics growing frustrated with delay.

Maple Ridge is still waiting for the ambulance.

The union representing paramedics in B.C. is accusing the province of dragging its feet in providing more ambulance service in Maple Ridge.

On Sept. 15, Premier Christy Clark was at Ridge Meadows Hospital to announce the Maple Ridge ambulance station would get a third ambulance, and another will be stationed in Coquitlam.

Bronwyn Barter, president of the Ambulance Paramedics of B.C., CUPE 873, said it has been six weeks, and the union still has not been told whether the vehicles will be alpha cars – those which are always on duty.

One ambulance requires nine paramedics to keep it staffed 24/7.

She said the government could have had the new vans on the road immediately using existing casual, part-time staff.

Last Wednesday, a Tweet from the Paramedics of B.C., which Barter said was written by a regional vice-president, got a response from the health minister.

“Whatever happened to the two additional ambulances announced by the Liberal government a month ago for the Tri-Cities and Maple Ridge? Crickets … Nothing,” read the Tweet.

Health Minister Terry Lake responded with a Tweet of his own: “Recruitment underway but will get on it today.”

The new ambulances topped up an increase in resources from earlier in 2016. In February, the province announced it was adding eight new ambulances and hiring 34 paramedics in the Lower Mainland – but not in Maple Ridge, at the time.

Barter said Lower Mainland paramedics are frustrated by the delay.

“They’re outraged. They’re being worked non-stop on their shifts, they don’t get breaks, and they show up late for calls and people are upset.”

She said the epidemic of opioid overdoses has exacerbated the problem, adding more calls “on top of a maxed-out system.”

Barter said not all of the new vehicles added earlier this year are alpha cars, so the government is not making the kind of investment needed to fix the system.

“It’s a drop in the bucket, compared to all of the resources we need,” she said.

The government’s own report said the B.C. Ambulance Service requires 27 additional alpha cars in Vancouver and Victoria to meet demand.

“It’s great that you have two new ambulances, but you’ll never see them if they’re short in other cities – until they get all of those resources in place, you won’t see them.

“Those ambulances aren’t going to stay in Maple Ridge and Coquitlam.”

Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Marc Dalton said the two new ambulances are stocked and ready to be deployed for Maple Ridge and the Tri-Cities area.

They will be staffed as alpha cars and the hiring process is currently underway, he added.

The ambulances will be staffed and responding to calls in November, Dalton said.

“That was my understanding from the beginning. It wasn’t going to happen the next day.”

He said the Liberal government has made a significant increase in both paramedics and ambulances this year, that will make a difference.

The paramedics union, Dalton added, has another agenda in its complaints about the system.

“You need to recognize the source – they are always going to advocate for more jobs.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The website Chigoby is among eight scam online retailers that have been identified by the Better Business Bureau. The site was fraudulently using an Abbotsford residential address, but has since switched to one in Poland.
Eight scam online-shopping websites fraudulently use Abbotsford address

Better Business Bureau says victims lost hundreds for non-existent or poor-quality products

Last year, the Mission Christmas Bureau celebrated its office opening with an open house. Covid-19 has forced the organization to switch to online registrations this year. / Kevin Mills File Photo
Registration for this year’s Mission Christmas Bureau will be completed online

Bureau gearing up to make Christmas possible for hundreds of local families and children in need

Barry Shantz in 2015 in front of a homeless camp at Gladys Avenue and Cyril Street. Abbotsford News file photo.
RCMP officers cleared in killing of Abbotsford homeless advocate

Barry Shantz was shot following a mental health crisis at his home on on Jan. 13, 2020,

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Oct. 18

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Local photographer Wolf Drescher spotted film crews set up along Esplanade Avenue in front of Canwest Art Gallery on the Lake on Thursday, October 1. Film production crews working on ‘Solitary’ will be around the area until close to the end of the month. (Contributed Photo/Wolf Drescher)
“Solitary” Update: Dramatic action scene to be filmed in Agassiz

‘Solitary’ will film a break-in, getaway at Kent Outdoors

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

In this file photo, snow is seen falling along the Coquihalla Highway. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Weather statement issued for Coquihalla, Hwy 3, as arctic front approaches

The early season snowfall expected to hit Fraser Valley, Friday, Oct. 23

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

The Surrey Eagles are currently seeking billet families for its players in advance of the 2020-‘21 BC Hockey League season. (Garrett James photo)
BCHL team in ‘desperate’ need of billet families for upcoming hockey season

COVID-19 pandemic has made finding homes for players difficult: billet co-ordinator

John Horgan brought the NDP campaign to Langley on Wednesday, Oct. 21, just three days before the B.C. vote (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Horgan brings NDP campaign to Langley

Predicts gains, says people are looking at the party ‘differently’ after three years

A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
2 years after huge highway acid spill, Kootenay Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

Mail-in ballot from Elections BC (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
At least 26% of eligible voters have already cast their ballot, Elections BC says

Voters can cast a ballot until 8 p.m PST on Election Day

Most Read