Outdated addresses in Elnora raise concerns over emergency response

Written by ECA Review

An Elnora resident voiced her concern during the Aug. 8 council meeting highlighting the urgency of updating civic addresses in the village.

April Irwin, a concerned resident who spoke to council, emphasized the importance of having up-to-date addresses for emergency services and lifeline requests. Irwin was specifically asking about the addresses on 8th Avenue, Elnora.

“I understand that data providers have been contracted to ensure that the village is in compliance with requirements for lifeline requests. But I’m not sure if that has been done or if the complete issue of updating has been resolved,” said Irwin. “Because whenever I go to look for myself on Google Maps I’m not there.”

Irwin explained where her concerns came from to council. She explained that due to the outdated addresses, her mother had to use Telus Lifeline instead of Philips Lifeline as Philips Lifeline could not find her.

Irwin also stated that her mother’s Telus Lifeline still uses her blue sign address, which should not need to be used anymore.

“So I’m worried about emergency services. If I phoned and had to have fire, ambulance or whatever come, would they be able to find me or her?” asked Irwin.

Highlighting the delayed progress on the address update, Irwin remarked, “as we’re standing now, we’re really far behind because we’ve been annexed for 15 years.”
Chief Administrative Officer Sharon Wesgate explained that Telus and Alberta Health Services had noticed an address issue.

“Telus and AHS realize that there’s issues with the addresses, so they’ve actually started a new program NG 9-1-1,” said Wesgate. “Telus has initiated it, and it works off GPS, and so all the information that is entered into it has to be in a specific format. And of course, the village just isn’t prepared for that.”

Wesgate continued to explain that the village contracted Alberta Municipal Data Sharing Partnership to collect the information and enter the data that Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1) needs. She also said the village is retaining their contact with them, and they will be checking in to see if anything has changed.

Council members acknowledged the persistent efforts to resolve the issue with data providers.

“We’ve been trying to get a hold of them for years. And I’m pretty sure council before us was probably trying to get ahold of them to help with them as well. It’s just they are not putting us as a priority at all,” said Coun. Lisa Ferguson.

Mayor Jul Bissell highlighted the liability associated with inaccurate addresses for emergencies, “It’s Telus and stuff like that. I don’t want to be, I don’t think any town wants to be liable for giving addresses for emergencies, especially if it’s going into GPS or anything like that, because it’s kind of a huge liability if you send someone to the wrong place.”

Council assured residents of their commitment to addressing the issue and working towards a solution that ensures accurate addresses for the safety and well-being of all residents.

Jessica Campbell
ECA Review

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