By Gillian Slade on June 17, 2017.
With the Medicine Hat air ambulance service contract still up in the air, CanWest has done a presentation to Peace River council and has offered money to a Medicine Hat aviation company for a letter stating there was space for them to operate here.
“Super T was approached by CanWest and offered money in exchange for a letter stating that Super T Aviation would lease space or sell its present hangar to CanWest but Super T Aviation declined CanWest’s offer,” reads a written statement signed in March by Terri Super, president of Super T Aviation.
Super stops short of calling it a bribe but says it did feel as though she was being offered money to write the letter, whether she was going to provide the space or not.
“I was just a little …. you can’t put that in there if it is not going to happen,” Super told the News. “If I’ve told you that I am not going to sell my (hangar) and you can’t have any space, offering me money isn’t going to change my mind.”
There were rumours circulating that Super T was making space available and/or that CanWest had bought Super T, Super said on Thursday.
“Their pilots were telling Integra Air’s pilots (Integra Air currently has the air ambulance contract for this area) that ‘yeah, CanWest bought Super T, that’s where we’re gonna be,'” said Super, who felt the need to write a Facebook posting.
“Contrary to rumours, Super T is not selling out to Jake Fehr (CanWest’s CEO) so he can fulfill his contract,” said Super.
AHS issued a request for proposals Aug. 9, 2016. It specified the need for those bidding to have appropriate facilities at each airport ambulance base they were bidding for. The contract was awarded to CanWest on March 21 for most of the bases in the province. CanWest does not have airport premises at Peace River nor at Medicine Hat.
The RFP specifies that proponents are not allowed to speak to the media.
CanWest recently did a presentation about its operation to Peace River’s council. It has been difficult to determine whether that was sanctioned by Alberta Health Services.
“Generally speaking, the RFP does allow proponents to engage with communities as part of the process to meet the RFP requirements. This would be expected,” said Darren Sandbeck, AHS EMS chief paramedic in an emailed response. “It is important to note however, that being in a position to meet the RFP requirements is ultimately the responsibility of the proponents, and AHS does not participate in these meetings.”
The City of Medicine Hat was not made aware of the presentation to Peace River’s council, and CanWest has not requested permission to do a similar presentation here, says CAO Merete Heggelund.
In the early days of the RFP process it felt like “everybody in the world” was calling Super T Aviation and asking about airport space to meet the requirements of the RFP, said Super. The answer to all was that they did not have any space available in their hangars and they were not looking to lease any space to another operator.
“In order to do the RFP they had to have something that said they had the room,” said Super.
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