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Fergus - Elora News Express - Council approves purchase of thermal imaging cameras

By Sarah McGoldrick
3/3/2004

It was an evening of highs and lows at the Township of Centre Wellington regular meeting held on Monday, March 1st.
Council unanimously approved the purchase of two thermal imaging cameras at a cost of $19,983.66.
Centre Wellington Fire Chief Brad Patton presented council with an example of one of the cameras the fire department will now use. They are capable of detecting heat sources from within walls, overheated power lines and transformers. The device can also be used to detect missing persons within a burning building.
“If a child has crawled under a bed, it leaves a mark and the camera will detect that,” said Patton.
He added that the department was able to purchase the thermal imaging detectors at a reduced rate due to a cooperative purchase with Halton region and Brampton.
Patton said he considered a number of possible cameras and consulted with fire departments around the area, deciding that the purchased camera was industry standard.
In his report to council Patton stated that thermal imaging technology will greatly enhance the department’s ability to locate persons in dangerous locations, whether it be in a fire, lost in the woods or fields, or on the water.
He added that the process of opening up walls to locate a fire can be costly to homeowners and the thermal imaging camera will aid in preventing unnecessary damage to property.
No go for Alzheimers facility
In another unanimous decision council rejected a proposal for the establishment of a residential Alzheimers care facility on Colborne Street in Elora. The proposed facility would have required the severance of current land on Colborne Street and an access lane via Church Street.
Elora resident Doug Fagan, who proposed the facility, has been working on the project for well over two years. However, the development review committee recommended it was not in council’s best interest to approve the facility.
Helen’s Place is designed to cater to the needs of people with Alzheimers in a non-institutional environment.
According to Fagan’s report, a study by the Waterloo Region Wellington Dufferin District Health Council, the number of beds for the frail and elderly in Wellington and Dufferin Counties will not meet the needs of Alzheimers patients by 2006.
Fagan said Helen’s Place would allow patients a safe and friendly environment in which they would be taken care of and monitored.
“It would have staff that is more mothering than clinical,” Fagan told council adding that it would be a supportive care facility unlike hospitals which often used medical and non-medical restraints to control Alzheimers patients.
“Family want loved ones in an environment where they are truly cared for,” said Fagan.
However, a number of issues came up regarding the location of the facility and the maintenance of adjoining roads.
Township Planner Brett Salmon presented council with his report regarding the facility and said that no amount of replanning would meet the necessary zoning requirements.
“It is never good planning to allow severance of a lot on a maintained and travelled road,” said Salmon adding that Church Street is a poorly maintained road that had not been plowed the last time he had observed it.
Councillor Walt Visser added that in all the times that Fagan’s proposal had been brought to committee, it had not received approval in its proposed location.
“We (the township) are liable for snow removal if the road is opened. If all our experts have chewed it up and rejected it, the only way I would change my mind is if the development review committee changed their minds,” he stated.
After council rejected the facility in its proposed location, Mayor Russ Spicer told Fagan that the idea for the facility was a good one and would certainly be needed in the future, however, in its proposed location it would simply not work.

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