The hot topic of the evening was Ferry Service and Paramedic Services. Paul Charbonneau, Director of Emergency and Transportation Services/Chief of Paramedic Services for Frontenac County presented this. Paul started his presentation with a ‘don’t shoot the messenger’ message that he and his staff were responsible only for operating and staffing the provincially owned ferry. In response to questions about who to contact regarding the ferry, Township staff, Liz Fulton and Mayor Jim Vanden Hoek indicated that they were the first line of contact.
Towards the end of the presentation, Liz Fulton stood up and spoke briefly about the circumstances that have led to the current transportation delays and breakdowns that Howe Islanders have been experiencing. She and the mayor explained that the ‘cycle time’ (although mentioned numerous times in earlier meetings by residents) was not included as a condition in the ferry contract. The mayor also apologized for this oversight on his part. Mayor Vanden Hoek explained that council focus had been on load capacity and the number of cars the ferry could carry, not the ‘cycle time’ (i.e.: speed) of the ferry.
Liz Fulton also told the attendees that there had been changes made to the original design such as going to one driven cable from two. This particular design change resulted in the significant slowing of the ferry since last fall in order to help prevent premature drive failures.
Ultimately these deficiencies resulted in HIRA effectively convincing council to reopen the Township ferry for annual operation.
Mike Quinn, Fire Chief, Howe Island Fire and Rescue made a presentation regarding his department’s medical response program. Mike spoke about the coordinating of public or private safety agencies to provide rapid first response assistance to the public in the timeliest manner possible. Some members of the audience expressed concerning first response and the need to develop a clearer understanding of how to interact with “911” to insure the most desirable outcome. One resident questioned why first responders would not administer an ‘epipen’ injection in the event of a severe allergic reaction. Mike explained that it was currently against Ontario regulations for his volunteers to perform ‘intrusive’ measures like injections. A copy of Mike’s presentation is attached to this article.
Shelagh McDonald, gave a brief update regarding the setting up of a Neighborhood Watch here on the island.
A request was made for volunteers to serve as Directors and on Committees.
The evening concluded with Gerry Ross presenting an overview of the HIRA Web Site.