• John Jantak

Irate Ste. Anne’s resident upset with inaccurate West Island Communication Centre info


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Ste. Anne de Bellevue Mayor Paola Hawa listens to a resident’s complaint about apparently receiving inaccurate information regarding the city’s Rescue Squad after calling the West Island Communication Centre in late March.

A recent phone call to the West Island Communication Centre by a Ste. Anne de Bellevue resident who requested to be put in touch with city’s Rescue Squad because of a flooded basement left the caller stunned after the dispatcher allegedly replied that the service was not available to residents in the municipality.

The resident informed Mayor Paola Hawa about the incident during the April 14 council meeting and asked why the city was paying $22,000 each year for the service, especially since dispatchers are apparently unaware of the services that are provided to Ste. Anne’s residents.

“I called on March 29 requesting to be put in touch with Sauvetage Ste. Anne. My house was flooding only for them to tell me we don’t have the service here. I spent several moments arguing with the woman and finally just hung up. I drove to someone’s house, got the number and called,” said the resident.

“It’s $22,000 too much if you ask me or any of the councillors,” replied Hawa. “Our problem right now is that this is one of the things we wanted to attack at the last budget. But because we don’t have a plan to replace it, we couldn’t. One of the things the Public Security committee will be doing is looking for a way to replace this service.”

On the city’s website under Public Security, the Rescue Service is described as a volunteer community service that is provided to all Ste Anne’s residents and intervenes during incidents on private property.

Residents who require specialized services including assistance from the Rescue Squad after hours or on weekends, can contact the West Island Communication Centre which is operated by the City of Pointe-Claire.

The centre also serves several other West Island municipalities, 24 hours a day, seven days a week at (514) 6301234, and is expected to give callers accurate information about the services provided by Ste. Anne’s.

“When our municipal offices are closed, this call centre takes over to receive and process calls from our residents relating to public safety, public works, animal control, volunteer rescues and alarm monitoring, as well as to provide general information,” reads the description on Ste. Anne’s website under Municipal Patrol.

While the resident is pleased the city’s Public Security Committee will be looking into an alternative service eventually being provided, she expressed concern for other residents who may also receive inaccurate information from the communication centre.

The city’s Executive Director Martin Bonhomme said the town will contact the centre to get a taped copy of the incident so that it can be reviewed. District 1 Councillor Dana Chevalier also expressed concern that a similar situation could happen to other residents as well.

Hawa later said another situation occurred about two years ago when the West Island Communication Centre apparently failed to follow protocol by failing to contact Ste. Anne’s public works department when an alarm was triggered about rising water levels at a pumping station in the northern part of the city that resulted in sewage flooding into several residential basements.

“This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about this type of incident,” Hawa told Your Local Journal referring to inaccurate information apparently being given to Ste. Anne’s residents. “Now we’re a new council and we’re well aware of it.

“We definitely intend to do something about it,” Hawa added. “It’s just a question of what do we do and how do we develop our own emergency response service. It doesn’t happen overnight and there is no doubt in my mind that the service we are paying for is of very little value.”

When contacted by Your Local Journal yesterday afternoon about the complaint, Pointe Claire Mayor Morris Trudeau said it was the first time he heard about the situation and declined comment, saying he would discuss the matter with Mayor Hawa.“

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