Hay River’s protective services have continued their busy year, with the number of calls going up by more than two-thirds compared with this time last year.
The total numbers for the year are up to 235 as of the end of April, compared with 148 calls in the same time as last year.
In March, emergency medical services “we’re pretty busy”, according to Director of Protective Services Ross Potter, with 56 calls for the month. In April there were 67 calls.
“So it’s very busy,” Potter said in a council meeting on May 11.
Potter added there were two instances of “close scares” with people speeding through schools zones or distracted driving and nearly hitting children.
Potter said previously that the increase in ambulance calls in January was in part due to the higher number of calls for the homeless population in town, with calls coming on an almost daily basis.
Town documents said protective services officers have been working with the health centre, the shelter and the RCMP to ensure Hay River’s homeless have somewhere to stay where it’s warm, and warning people about the risks of drinking alone.
Mayor Kandis Jameson said in a previous council meeting that the repeat hospitalizations for some people can take a toll on protective and medical services in town.
Jameson added she has brought concerns forward about the impact of the increase in ambulance calls forward to the territory’s homelessness and health ministers.
Protective services has also been dealing with the flooding evacuation.
Vale Island and West Channel residents were allowed to return to their homes on May 11 after the evacuation order for the area was lifted. Potter thanked the large team of volunteers, saying the team operated as a well oiled machine to keep them safe.
“I can honestly say that we really got lucky,” said Potter. “I definitely anticipated an awful worst breakup.”