The Kenora District Services Board has recently approved their 2018 budget, which includes a substantial increase. The board’s budget will reach roughly $55 million in 2018, up $13 million from 2017.

Henry Wall, Chief Administrative Officer for the KDSB, spoke about the board’s budget for the new year, and what the increase means for the region.

“We thought 2017 was a tremendous year for us, just in terms of operational changes. 2018 is no exception. We’re seeing our operating budget increased by roughly 32 per cent. What that means for the region, is that we’re planning on delivering over $13 million worth of new or enhanced programs and services,” he said.

One of the things that residents can expect due to the budget increase – is more paramedics in the area. Wall says that more crews will be added this year as the KDSB deals with an increase in demand – particularly due to the reoccurring substance abuse issue in the community.

“We need to better support our EMS land ambulance system. In the City of Kenora in particular, alcohol and substance abuse has a tremendous impact on our EMS resources. We need to move forward and add more paramedics to the community. Part of the plan for 2018 is to add two more crews, so we’ll have three day and three night crews around the clock. That is a response to the increase in demand for service. As a community, we should take this very seriously. We cannot to afford to continue doing this. We cannot just simply accommodate the 8 to 10 per cent increase in 911 calls made every single year here. Things have to change,” he said.

Wall noted that with their expanded budget – they will also be expanding and enhancing social housing, childcare and social supports within the region. Of course, the KDSB will also have a hand in helping to support Kenora’s new emergency shelter, soon to be located at Knox United Church.

For more information:
Knox shelter plan approved

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