Midland councillor collapses during meeting

·2 min read

Editor's note: This story was first published on March 22. This version corrects the spelling of Richard Renaud's name. Ambulances were called to Midland's municipal offices Wednesday evening after Coun. Jim Downer fell ill during a discussion at a regular meeting of council.

Coun. Downer had been commenting on a notice of motion on the Midland Bay Landing property when, at approximately 7:51 p.m., he suddenly slumped forward in his seat.

Midland Fire Chief Richard Renaud, who was at the meeting, was quick to attend to Downer as fellow councillors helped lay him on the council floor, where CPR was administered.

Three minutes later, emergency vehicles arrived to the municipal offices. Downer, a former mayor of Midland, was taken to hospital. There is no word on his condition.

Midland Mayor Bill Gordon said the CPR efforts of the fire chief and Coun. Sheldon East "may have saved Downer's life."

“I’ve got to call out Coun. (Sheldon) East… he was immediately on doing CPR. And as absolute luck would have it – and we never have this – we had our new fire chief (Richard Renaud) in the council chambers and he grabbed the defibrillator and immediately applied that; it wasn’t needed," Gordon told MidlandToday. “You couldn’t have had better first responder presence. I guess the only thing better than this would be in the hospital at the moment. Absolute credit to Coun. East and all the staff that immediately sprung into action and very likely may have saved his life," Gordon said. Gordon said the status of Downer was unknown as he and the rest of council and staff were cleared from the municipal chambers “so that the medical techs could work on him without people gawking and being in the way.” Gordon said he signed a procedural motion to abruptly end the meeting, which occurred during a discussion of the future of Midland Bay Landing. He added that the matter would likely be continued next Thursday during a special meeting of council following a presentation by the Huronia Airport Commission. Midland municipal offices are located on Dominion Ave., minutes away from Georgian Bay General Hospital, where Downer was taken by ambulance.

This is a developing story. We'll have more information when it's available.

Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca