County advertising for physicians
The following are brief reports of items discussed during a March 21 meeting of Haliburton County council.
The county will purchase an advertisement in the yearbook for Queen’s University medical students, promoting the Haliburton Highlands as an area to live and practise.
“I didn’t feel this was the decision of a single person,” said Algonquin Highlands Mayor Carol Moffatt, the county’s rep on the Haliburton Highlands Health Services professional recruitment committee, explaining the municipality had purchased the advertising in the past. “So, the question is, do we want to do it again?”
The county budgets money each year for the recruitment of medical professionals to the area, money that is to be used for advertising, financial assistance to physicians, etc.
“We spoke to the physicians, and they felt it was effective,” said chief administrative officer Mike Rutter.
Councillors said they’d like to see the current ad, which features a couple riding bicycles on a forested roadway, updated with the county’s #MyHaliburtonHighlands branding, a little more sizzle, and recognition that some funding is available.
Blue emergency lights
Going forward, ambulances purchased by the county will have blue flashing emergency lights.
As paramedic chief and EMS director Tim Waite explained to councillors, a recent amendment to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act allows emergency vehicles including ambulances and fire trucks to be outfitted with blue lights.
“There’s some evidence that shows that it’s a safer colour to use,” Waite said. “When you have emergency lights flashing, some evidence shows that the white lights, the flashing white lights . . . some evidence shows that they cause a distraction to motorists as they’re passing the vehicles.”
Waite said this has caused injury to paramedics doing roadside work.
“So the risk comes when you’re on the side of the road working on someone . . . there’s lots of emergency workers that are hit by the vehicles passing them.”
“So, the blue lights are the preferred option in the future,” Waite said, specifying that the county’s current ambulances would retain their white lights.”
Support for RTO grant application
Council agreed to write a letter of support for a funding application by the Rural Transportation Options committee to the Haliburton County Development Corporation’s local initiatives grant program for funding to continue its work on local transportation.
The community transportation pilot project funding the group had received from the MTO comes to an end March 31.
Haliburton County councillors voted to put $50,000 in the 2018 budget for a transportation implementation plan, but, with municipal elections in October, actual implementation of any local transit system will be left for the next county council.