The shocking Kurrajong car accident on the morning of August 8 which left former Hawkesbury councillor Dianne Finch in intensive care prompted a call for an ambulance base station west of the river at last week’s council meeting.
Councillor Mary Lyons-Buckett put up the notice of motion, and argued why the station was critical to residents west of the river, not just now, but when projected developments were built.
‘‘It took 30 minutes for emergency services to arrive at a quiet time of day,’’ she said of the 7.30am accident.
‘‘If it was busier it would have been extremely difficult to get emergency services to that side of the river.
‘‘Fortunately, neighbours with the necessary competency were able to administer appropriate medical assistance until emergency services arrived.
‘‘With projected development that side of the river, what are we expecting to get in the way of improvement to emergency services?
‘‘You can’t have one thing without the other. Council has a responsibility to ensure the safety of the community has not been compromised by the decision to approve this level of development.’’
Cr Paul Rasmussen said Council had to take responsibility for the consequences and impacts of approving those developments.
Cr Barry Calvert suggested Kurmond as an ideal location for a base station, similar to those temporarily set up during natural disasters such as bushfires and flood, until permanent measures were available.
‘‘If the Libs are intent on carving up our agricultural land into never-ending housing estates then the least they could do is provide essential services such as ambulance stations west of the river,’’ he said.
Cr Lyons-Buckett said the community could not be left in a state where it was more vulnerable than it already was.
‘‘We have to start being lobbyists and say we need these services,’’ she said.
Council will prepare a report on the availability and response times of emergency services to incidents occurring west of the Hawkesbury River.
A NSW Ambulance spokesperson told the Gazette this wasn’t a priority area for a new ambulance station, that ambulance helicopters may be called on to access difficult locations, and that paramedics rarely respond from the station where they started their shift.
‘‘Paramedics from Richmond, Penrith, Springwood, Katoomba and Lithgow ambulance stations generally respond across this region, including Bells Line of Road,’’ the spokesperson said.
‘‘The Putty Road generally sees responses from Richmond in the south and Singleton in the north.’’
The spokesperson said NSW Ambulance-trained Community First Responder volunteers were located at Mt Wilson, Putty, Howes Valley and Bulga who help until paramedics arrived.
The volunteers come from Fire & Rescue NSW, RFS and SES and know advanced first aid and basic patient assessment and can give pain relief and oxygen.