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STARS looking for support from Cypress County

Posted on February 15, 2024 by Ryan Dahlman

By Brylan Span

Two representatives from STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service) gave a presentation at the February 6 Cypress County council meeting, in hopes of gaining monetary support from Cypress County. 

Glenda Farnden, the senior municipal relations liaison for STARS and Josh Nash, the provincial director, asked for the support of Cypress County in order to offset costs. The program is in negotiations with the Alberta government to secure a new 10-year agreement for 50 per cent of the operational costs. The rest of the revenue that STARS has is from fundraising. This includes the STARS Lottery. With its 2024 launch on January 18, Farnden said “We are very hopeful, for 28 years now, Albertans have continued to stand by our side.” Also included in fundraising revenue is the funds received from municipalities, “In a collective united effort to offset costs” Farnden said.

Over 90 per cent of Alberta’s municipalities support STARS through these funds, with a majority of them providing a minimum of $2 per capita. Cypress County is not currently a part of this funding.

Council was appreciative of the information that they received and believed that the ask was reasonable, but had questions and concerns regarding how STARS would work with HALO (Helicopter Air Lift Operation). HALO, which serves southern Alberta and is based in Medicine Hat, has been an important part of the region since its first mission in 2007. As councillor Robin Kurpjuweit said “We bleed HALO.” While answering questions regarding the councillor’s concerns about making sure that patients will receive the quickest response time for their care, Nash said “I’m honest, one hundred per cent when I say I don’t see it as competition, I see it as partnership.”

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