City council will consider donating three decommissioned Access-A-Ride vans for Alberta Rotary clubs to take to Mexico. The Los Amigos project began in 2011 and has led to about 60 emergency vehicles and busses being donated to communities in Mexico.
Randy Smith, president of the Olds Rotary Club and Coordinator of the project, presented to the economic and finance committee on Feb. 8, requesting the donation. He said the next trip is planned for Sept. 29, but all documents have to be in order before March.
Rotarians are planning to drive eight vehicles to Mexico this trip – four fire trucks and four vans. Smith said the total cost is estimated to be around $64,000, all of which is accounted for through Rotary donations.
Along with vehicles, the Los Amigos project donates firefighting and EMT equipment such as stretchers, hoses and jaws-of-life.
“They just don’t have these pieces of equipment that we are so familiar with in Canada, so the rescue equipment that we put on the trucks is put into immediate service and is out on the highway saving lives so it really does make a difference,” Smith said.
He added all but two of the 60 vehicles that have been donated are still in service.
“Many of the vehicles that we are taking down are 20-30 years old – some of the ambulances and busses have 350-400 thousand kilometres on them – and so again, the work continues all year long and we have to make sure that these vehicles can actually make the trip down.”
The Rotary clubs have a partnership with the heavy equipment program at Olds College, which give students a chance to work on the vehicles to ensure they are ready for the trip.
The standing policy committee voted to recommend council approve donating the three vans for the Los Amigos project.