Mayor for the Town of Bonnyville, Gene Sobolewski, wants to clear up any misconceptions and state that the Town of Bonnyville is more than satisfied with the efforts of Health Minister, Sarah Hoffman, in regards to issues with Alberta Health Services(AHS) and ambulance service in the town. Sobolewski says the Minister has work collaboratively with the Town since her designation as Health Minister. Further, Sobolewski states he has seen more progress in the last year than any other Health Minister the Town has worked with during his time on Council.
Sobolewski, who was on Council for four years before becoming Mayor in 2014, says the Town has been in talks with Minister Hoffman over the issues with the ambulance service and he is confident in her efforts to find a resolve. “We phone her on a continuous basis, we’ve talked to her several times. [Hoffman] has been really active and supportive in our endeavors on this issue,” the Mayor says just two weeks ago, Minister Hoffman arranged for a meeting between AHS and the Town. “We called her and we were very concern, particularly with the whole funding issue, and our concern lies with AHS. [Hoffman] has ordered AHS to sit down with us, we will be meeting with them shortly, we’re just developing an agenda.”
Minister Hoffman is very actively responsive in the ambulance issues and the Town of Bonnyville. – Gene Sobolewski Mayor of Bonnyville
Sobolewski says the Town is more than satisfied with the efforts of Minister Hoffman, “we’ve had more response, more collaboration, and cooperation from this Minister, and the entire [Provincial] Government, in one year than we’ve had in the last seven years with the previous government.” The problems stem from the previous government and the AHS model, which was founded by the Progressive Conservative party, says Sobolewski. “In many cases, there’s inability in that organization, AHS, to see the forest for the trees and in our case we’ve got a couple of trees that we need to give attention to and some pruning. That organization is so huge, and what we need is funding. There’s been a complete funding strangulation on the ambulance since that organization formed in 2012 and there are growing pressures on the ambulance service.”
We’re enjoying a very good relationship with the Health Minister. – Gene Sobolewski Mayor of Bonnyville
Mayor Sobolewski recognizes that other municipalities in our region may not be experiencing the same service from the Minister and he cannot speak to that, but he does speak for the Town in saying that Minister Hoffman has been very active and participates in an open dialogue with the Town in matters regarding AHS and the ambulance service. “We cannot be lumped into the pot, saying the Minister needs to do more, because she’s doing a fantastic job for us, right now.”
Mayor Sobolewski says AHS will be coming to Bonnyville this week for a joint meeting with the Town and the Municipal District (MD) of Bonnyville, “they’re coming up and sitting down with myself and Ed (Rondeau, Reeve for the MD). Along with representatives of the Fire Authority, we’ll all be sitting down to discuss the ambulance issues and the strangulation of funding, that we’ve all been experiencing, for the last three years.” The Town and the MD operate the Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority, which is responsible for the ambulance service. “The meeting was as a result of our conversation with the Health Minister, and the Minister ordering AHS to work with us on this issue.”
I have to give credit where credit is due, the Health Minister has been fantastic to work with. – Gene Sobolewski Mayor of Bonnyville