Hines pushes for public meeting on EHS relocation

By Lois Ann Dort    

The relocation of the Emergency Health Services base in Sherbrooke is on hold -- for now.

Last week the Progressive Conservative candidate for Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie, Rob Wolf, said current MLA Lloyd Hines needed to provide clarity on rumoured plans to shut down the Emergency Health Services depot in Sherbrooke and move it to Melrose.

After outlining the case against the relocation -- response time, road conditions, lack of consultation with the public -- Wolf stated in a release: “Before any final decision is made, Lloyd Hines must address the questions and concerns of residents, because they are the ones who will be put at greater risk if this depot is closed down.”

MLA Hines issued a press release to address the issue last Friday. “On January 22, this year a local community member advised me that EHS were not renewing the expired lease on their Sherbrooke premise,” he said. “I immediately reached to Mr. Jeff Fraser, Director of Provincial operations for EHS for an explanation. I was disappointed to learn that EHS were planning to relocate the base to Melrose without any consultation with served communities. I requested that Mr. Fraser immediately meet with the Municipality of the District of Saint Mary’s Council to begin to consult the community.

“That meeting occurred on February 08, 2017 and the Council was informed by EHS that the decision was already made to move. When I was informed of this by the municipality that day I found that response unacceptable and I requested that a public meeting be held in Sherbrooke to consult the communities.

Hines said that St. Mary’s Warden Mike Mosher advised him that a date for a public meeting is being sought with EHS.

“The people will have their opportunity to provide input into any future decision,” said Hines. “In the meantime, EHS has agreed to postpone any relocation activity for the foreseeable future.”

While political interests may actively support keeping the base in Sherbrooke, the initial decision to move the depot was a private business matter, not a political one.