REGINA — There was a major announcement Thursday to celebrate 10 years of STARS Air Ambulance in Saskatchewan.
Five major Crown corporations in Saskatchewan have announced the renewal of funding to the non-profit air ambulance service. The funding comes from SaskPower, SGI, SaskTel, SaskEnergy and CIC.
Their contributions are $2 million each over the next five years, 2023 to 2028, for a grand total of $10 million. That brings the total contribution from the five Crown corporations to $30 million.
Representatives from the five Crown corporations as well as Don Morgan, minister responsible for Crown Investments Corporation and all major Crown corporations, made the announcement at the STARS Air Ambulance base in Regina. April 30 of this year marked the 10th anniversary of the STARS base in Regina, and their base in Saskatoon has their anniversary Oct. 15.
At the event, dignitaries paid tribute to the important role STARS plays in saving lives and responding to major incidents, including James Smith Cree Nation last month.
“STARS is one of the most beneficial things that we have in our province for providing safety and security for all of our citizens,” said Morgan.
“We’ve had unbelievable government support since day one,” said STARS CEO Andrea Robertson. “We couldn’t be more grateful that the Crowns see the importance of the STARS organization here in Saskatchewan.”
During the news conference, STARS showed off their newly acquired helicopter, an Airbus H145 purchased through the STARS Keep the Fight in Flight capital campaign to which the province provided $13 million.
The new chopper was acquired last year and replaces another helicopter in the fleet, a BK 117, that was 38 years old. STARS has 10 aircraft serving western Canada, with one based in Saskatoon and two in Regina, and the expectation is this new craft will similarly serve STARS for decades to come.