07/17/2013 12:48 EDT | Updated 09/16/2013 05:12 EDT

Stewart Ambulance Service Delay Concerns Mayor Galina Durant

District of Stewart
STEWART, B.C. - The mayor of the remote northwestern B.C. community of Stewart says it's unacceptable that residents face a potentially life-threatening wait of over three hours for an ambulance.

Galina Durant says every week, from midnight Sunday until 1 p.m. on Monday, local ambulance service is unavailable in Stewart.

She says the nearest ambulance must come from Terrace, about 300 kilometres to the south, and the delays in winter can be even longer because the road linking the two communities is often closed by avalanches.

According to Durant, the BC Ambulance Service only pays for one paramedic, eight hours per week, in the District of about 500 residents.

Volunteers, who must leave other jobs to attend an emergency, provide the remainder of the service.

Stewart says a petition is now circulating in Stewart, demanding improved ambulance coverage, and Stikine New Democrat MLA Doug Donaldson has promised to discuss the matter with Health Minister Terry Lake. (CFTK)

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