Rickford announces funding for area

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

Rainy River–Kenora MPP Greg Rickford was in the Fort Frances area last week meeting constituents and announcing funding for projects in the area.

While in the area Rickford stopped at the Township of Alberton’s Fire hall and announced $16,200 for a new garage door for one of the bays. This will allow the department to install a new automatic door.

According to a release from Rickford’s office, the new door will help speed up the department’s response times.

“The upgrade will decrease the response time of the emergency volunteers by increasing the efficiency of the opening and closing and removing the need for the response vehicle to stop.”

To this point firefighters have had to stop to close the door after taking the vehicle out of the garage.

Mike Ford is the reeve of Alberton he says the door will also help the health and safety of the department as well.

“Where seconds count in an emergency situation, the funding provided by NOHFC to install automatic doors will improve the Volunteer Fire Department response times while improving the health and safety of our valued volunteer brigade,” Ford said.

Another announcement was made for funds given to J. N Webb & Sons LTD. to expand its freezer and storage space.

“The expansion will help meet the growing demand for fresh food among the First Nations community and tourist camps,” the release said.

Larry Webb is the owner of J.N Webb & Sons LTD. He says the funds have helped the operation become more efficient.

“J.N.Webb & Sons Ltd. has been serving northwest Ontario for over 70 years. With the assistance of the Ontario government and Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, we have been able to modernize our freezer and make our warehouse more efficient. We appreciate the support from the Province of Ontario in helping us make this happen.”

The next stop Rickford made that morning was at the Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board (RRDSSAB) ambulance base.

Rickford announced that the provincial government is adding $5.4 million to RRDSSAB’s Land Ambulance Service Grant (LASG). The announcement comes as a part of a total investment of $764 million in annual LASG to help towns facing increasing costs.

“As a government, we recognize the unique challenges that RRDSSAB faces while providing emergency health services across the northwest,” Rickford said. “Today’s announcement is another example of the targeted investments we are making to relieve pressure on the local health care system.”

Fort Frances Mayor June Caul was on hand at the announcement and said the money is key to keeping newly trained paramedics in the area after training at places like Seven Generations Education Institute.

“It all revolves around money,” Caul said. “Even if you’re training them here, if they’re not getting paid enough they’ll just say ‘goodbye.’”

Caul added her thanks to the paramedics on hand for the announcement saying she appreciates all they go through in their jobs.

“What you people are exposed to on a daily basis, what you see and what you have to go home with in your head,” Caul said. “I just can’t fathom what it must be like so I respect and appreciate all of you for what you do to keep us safe.”