Ambulance storage garage nearly complete

The Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board (RRDSSAB) is nearing the end of building a storage garage on Butler Ave. located beside the ambulance base.

Dan McCormick, chief administrative officer at RRDSSAB, said this garage will house the disaster trailer that is currently stored in the ambulance base. The 22 ft. long disaster vehicle includes equipment that can restock about 10 ambulance vehicles in the field.

“It takes up a lot of space in our ambulance base where we could put active [ambulance] vehicles,” McCormick said. “The garage is specifically to put that trailer in, but it is also to put some of our own supplies in. So for example in a pandemic situation we try to maintain about six months of inventory, even before COVID-19.”

The new storage garage will also be used for bulk storage to store masks, gowns and personal protective equipment (PPE). McCormick said there is storage in the ambulance base, but it is on elevated platforms. McCormick added that the elevated shelving units are sometimes hard to access.

“In that garage that we are building, there will be actual shelving similar to a warehouse so it’ll be easier to get to the materials,” McCormick said. “We will also be able to take the vehicles to any of the other bases as we need it.”

RRDSSAB began building that storage garage last year and construction was expected to finish last fall. However, both acquiring the appropriate building permits from the town and COVID-19 delayed construction work, McCormick said.

“The contractor could not even start until the province deemed anything with ambulances essential,” McCormick said. “If you go there now you’ll see the walls are up we are just waiting for the truss roofs to arrive. They will be put shortly and they’ll finish the outside siding and then work on the inside of [the storage garage]. It is heated, but it does not have any water or sewer in it.”

There will also be a separate room in the back of the storage garage to store extra chairs, desks from the RRDSSAB building and anything that they buy in bulk for the office that they want to store such as PPE, McCormick said.

The total cost of building the storage garage and landscaping is about $220,000. The funding for building this storage unit came from part of the RRDSSAB’s operating budget. RRDSSAB’s budget is 70 per cent funded through the province and 30 per cent through the municipalities.