Cities vote to reject pipeline, ambulance changes

Lower Mainland delegates also pass motions on medical marijuana, coal export terminals

Lower Mainland cities have registered their concern over slower ambulance response times for many 911 calls.

Lower Mainland civic politicians voted last week to oppose the Kinder Morgan oil pipeline twinning and call for an overhaul of recent dispatch changes slowing ambulance response times many calls.

Those were among the resolutions passed at the Lower Mainland Local Government Association that will be forwarded to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention this fall.

The vote opposing Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion – which would triple oil pipeline capacity through the Lower Mainland and result in a five-fold jump in outbound oil tanker traffic – narrowly passed in a standing vote at the conference in Whistler.

Some cities, like Vancouver and Burnaby, already outright oppose the project, while others await more information through the National Energy Board’s review.

Lower Mainland delegates also voted for a resolution calling for an effective patient-centred emergency response service using fire, rescue and ambulance services working together.

It cited an “unprecedented downloading of costs and risk onto local government first responders” by the controversial move last fall to downgrade various non-urgent 911 calls for dispatch by ambulance at routine speeds, without lights and sirens.

Cities and fire departments complain it’s meant much longer ambulance waits for many patients, although provincial emergency health officials contend it’s allowed faster response to the most urgent calls, with less risk of traffic crashes caused by high-speed ambulances.

New Westminster Coun. Chuck Puchmayr, the new president of the LMLGA, said part of the problem is a shortage of ambulance paramedics in the Lower Mainland, as well as chronic congestion in the region’s hospitals.

“The hospitals are bursting at the seams with emergency patients and paramedics are not able to get back into the queue to respond to these other calls,” Puchmayr said. “They’re waiting there with patients to legally transfer them over to emergency department staff. And that’s causing a huge delay.”

Motions from Squamish and Langley City also demand provincial government aid to cover cities’ costs from firefighter first responders waiting longer for ambulances to arrive.

The province has previously refused to subsidize first responder programs, saying they’re voluntary and cities could save money by having them respond only to serious emergencies.

LMLGA delegates also voted to strongly oppose development of the proposed Fraser Surrey Docks coal export terminal and the planned expansion of Neptune Terminals in North Vancouver until Port Metro Vancouver conducts formal hearings and orders a more comprehensive health impact assessment on coal dust dangers.

“The chief medical health officer of Fraser Health has been calling for this for quite some time,” noted Port Moody Coun. Rick Glumac, who also serves on the LMLGA executive. “It seems to me to be a perfectly reasonable request.”

The LMLGA, which represents 33 municipal governments from Pemberton to Yale, voted to reject a motion from Burnaby to oppose provincial government changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve, although another motion passed seeking a freeze on the planned split of the ALR into two zones pending more consultation.

Also approved were:

– An Abbotsford demand that Health Canada disclose to municipalities the locations of previously licensed medical marijuana grow-ops so they can be inspected.

– A Chilliwack resolution opposing the use of farmland for medical marijuana production and urging the province to block the classification of new pot factories as farms qualifying for lower property tax rates.

– A call for the province to regulate party buses.

– A New Westminster request for senior government aid to retrofit older wood-frame apartment buildings and care homes with sprinkling systems.

– A motion asking Ottawa to further restrict use of older DOT-111 rail tanker cars implicated in the Lac Megantic oil fire disaster and legislate their accelerated replacement.

Just Posted

Langley students help out at clinic during National Blood Donors Week

Credo Christian students helped celebrated National Blood Donors Week by helping at a blood clinic

Langley’s oldest and last strip bar shuts its doors

The Alder Inn, in operation since 1957, has reportedly been purchased

Update: Show of support after pride flag was taken down by Township of Langley

Township statement said flag was removed due to “confusion” about whether it was on private property

No more TransLink buses for Langley until at least September

Route changes and increases start soon, but Langley gets no increases this summer

Kwantlen-language street signs proposed for Fort Langley

Halkomelem language could be added to local signage

PHOTOS: Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Victoria mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of coroners inquest into overdose death

Resulting recommendations could change handling of youth records amidst the overdose crisis

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Dinosaur statues from defunct Dinotown theme park stolen in Chilliwack

The dinosaur figures once graced the theme park but were destined for Chilliwack fundraiser

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

Most Read