Ontario’s deputy premier was on hand to cut the ribbon at the new Middlesex-London Paramedic Service headquarters but made a hasty exit without speaking with the media.
Christine Elliott, who is also the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, was in London for Friday’s unveiling. The event was held just two days before funding is set to run out for London’s temporary overdose prevention site (TOPS).
She released a statement hours later, announcing that she is “now in the process of finalizing my recommendations” and that they’re officially asking the federal government to extend Ontario’s class exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA).
Before leaving, Elliott joined Middlesex County Warden Marigay Wilkins, London Mayor Matt Brown, and Middlesex-London Paramedic Service Chief Neal Roberts to show off the new multi-million dollar facility.
“This facility including all the technology, all the equipment, the furniture, had a budget of $14.25 million,” said Roberts.
“We came in under budget on this. When we look at some comparator stations similar to this one around the province, we’re seeing price tags of $20 to $35 million. So we believe in Middlesex County and the city of London that this was good value for the investment that was made.”
The new facility is approximately 47,000 square feet and can hold up to 20 vehicles inside. It also gives the service the ability to decontaminate vehicles.
“A couple years ago, as I mentioned to the minister and to those joining us today, when we were the response team for southern Ontario for Ebola, we really didn’t have an area to decontaminate our vehicle. Now we do and it’s here to serve southern Ontario as well.”
The new headquarters is located at 1035 Adelaide St. S., just north of Highway 401.