The Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS) helicopter air ambulance will soon be based in Saskatchewan.
Premier Brad Wall hosted the announcement April 6.
The rescue service is expected to be in the air in the spring of 2012 in southern Saskatchewan, and autumn of 2012 in central and northern Saskatchewan.
A STARS helicopter is based in Winnipeg right now for the spring flood.
Health Minister Theresa Oswald has said Manitoba is currently in talks with STARS for its service to be based in southern Manitoba, and Finance Minister Rosann Wowchuk affirmed that in her April 12 budget. How soon announcement is coming is unclear, but we here Under The Dome expect it to come before July.
If you’ve watched the video, it’s immediately clear the Saskatchewan government is not footing the bill for the helicopter air ambulance system alone.
The Wall government will spend $5 million toward the initiative in this year's budget, and an estimated $10 million annually in the years ahead. The remaining costs will be covered by STARS fundraising efforts and corporate donations. Potash giant Mosaic Co. is contributing $5.5 million toward the initiative and Crescent Point Energy is contributing $5 million. Husky Energy, Rawlco Radio and Enbridge have also committed financial support to the service.
If anyone reading this knows who in Manitoba has been approached by Theresa Oswald to chip in some cash for STARS helicopters to come here, drop me a line. Most days I’m pretty approachable.
I know where the government could find about $320 million, but that Manitoba Public Insurance rebate money is already spoken for.