CRESWICK residents are still waiting for their ambulance station to be built months after Health Minister David Davis announced the beginning of construction.
The state government is yet to lodge a planning application for the facility, four months after public officials and journalists watched Mr Davis turn the first sod at the White Street site on August 1.
Ambulance Victoria did not have planning permission from the Hepburn Shire Council to build an ambulance branch on the residential-zoned site but Mr Davis said a submission would be given to the council in coming weeks.
But yesterday morning the council confirmed no planning application had yet been lodged for the project.
Hepburn Shire mayor Don Henderson said residents had approached him over the inaction at the site.
“Some of them have said ‘is the shire holding it up?’
“I’ve checked on that this morning and they haven’t received anything at all,” he said.
“We want more than a sod turned with a silver spade. We want a sod turned with an excavator to begin the building. We want some action.”
Cr Henderson said the extra travel time from Ballarat could be the difference between life and death.
Ambulance Employees Australia general secretary Steve McGhie said he had not been briefed by Ambulance Victoria on the project.
“There hasn’t been anything approved by the council,” he said.
“Even if they had things ticked off today, it will take six months at a minimum for that to be completed.”
Housing five paramedics and two vehicles, the station would service 17,000 people in and around Creswick and Clunes.
Mr McGhie said it filled a service “blind spot” north of Ballarat.
Ballarat’s only other branches are Central, Wendouree and Sebastopol.
“The next closest branches from there are Daylesford and Ballan,” Mr McGhie said.
“It’s a bit of a black hole in that area, in terms of responding.”
Ambulance Victoria Grampians regional manager Greg Leach said the planning application was poised to be lodged.
“We are currently finalising the proposal for Ambulance Victoria’s new Creswick branch before it is submitted to council,” he said.
“We envisage it being lodged with officials within the next fortnight.”
RECENT AMBULANCE DELAYS AT CRESWICK
November 28: Code 1 involving 82-year-old vomiting blood. Wait time: 22 minutes.
November 30: 70-year-old John Curtin Aged Care resident in respiratory distress. Staff say the patient can wait up to 30 minutes. Ambulance requested at 8.57am and arrives 45 minutes later at 9.42am.
December 2: Creswick Medical Centre doctor requests transport for a four-year-old child with a head injury at 12pm. The doctor calls again at 12.09pm as the patient is deteriorating (vomiting and altered conscious state). An ambulance is dispatched at 12.34pm due to a lack of resources, but is cancelled at 12.46pm as the doctor became sick of waiting. The patient had to be transported privately.