Money to help repair damage to Cambria’s ambulance station caused by winter storms has cleared its first hurdle.
In a letter to the Cambria’s health district, the state Office of Emergency Services (Cal-OES) said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had approved the district’s request for public assistance.
The money isn’t in the bank yet. According to a letter from Cal-OES to the district, “FEMA requires all projects be completed within approved timeframes or funding may be jeopardized.”
The letter sets regulatory deadlines of Aug. 16 for emergency work and a year later for permanent work, although it adds that extensions can be considered. The district must also obtain all necessary permits for the work.
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“This is by no means them rubber-stamping whatever we want, but at least we’re in the mix now,” Trustee Jerry Wood said at the board’s monthly meeting Wednesday, July 19.
The district’s ambulance station on Main Street was damaged during heavy rains Jan. 8 and 9. Those rains caused a mudslide that destroyed a wooden debris wall, trapping an ambulance between the hillside and the building.
Since then, ambulance crews have been housed in private Cambria residences, most recently at Camborne Place on Lodge Hill.
This is by no means them rubber-stamping whatever we want, but at least we’re in the mix now.
Trustee Jerry Wood on approval of public assistance to fix storm damage at the ambulance station
The district also took a step toward replacing the debris wall with a full-fledged retaining wall, voting 3-2 to work with Todd Robinson of Coast Engineering & Survey on a retaining wall design.
Board members Shirley Bianchi and Barbara Bronson Gray dissented after suggesting that the board get a second opinion from another engineer on Robinson’s proposal.
Robinson submitted several possible designs, including a gravity-held block system, a conventional retaining wall and a “Caltrans standard retaining wall.” Sentiment on the board seemed to favor the first — or Redi-Rock — option, which Wood said is “more aesthetically pleasing and serves the same purpose” as the others.
He added that the design could be implemented for an equal or lower cost.
Board President Bob Putney also spoke favorably of the Redi-Rock option, and Bianchi added that a plain concrete wall would be “just a magnet for graffiti.”
In other business, board members voted 3-2 to change the way items are placed on the agenda. Previously, any trustee could place an item on the agenda; under the amended bylaws, issues can be placed on the agenda by the president and/or administrator or a simple majority of the board. Bianchi and Gray, who often constitute a minority vote on the board, voted “no,” arguing that individual board members only rarely placed items on the agenda. The majority countered that other agencies use a rule similar to the one adopted Wednesday.
Also, the board decided to schedule a special meeting in the near future to discuss the district’s budget.
The following CCHD outreach events are scheduled for the coming months:
▪ September: Pinedorado Parade, 9:30 a.m. Sept. 2
▪ October: Breast cancer awareness, Farmers Market, 2:30 p.m. Fridays
▪ November: Fill the Boat Food Drive at Cookie Crock; Toys for Tots toy drive begins
▪ December: Hospitality Night, 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 7; toy drive continues
▪ February: Go Red for Women campaign, Farmers Market, 2:30 p.m. Fridays
▪ March: Distracted driving campaign with CHP, Coast Union High School; student CPR
▪ April/May: EMS appreciation event
▪ May: Career Day, Coast Union High School
▪ June: EMS event, Cambria Grammar School