General News · 4th August 2010
The fish are running, festivals are happening and the tourists seem to keep on coming to our communities and camp sites: summer is happening across the North Island.
The permanent closure of the Elk Falls mill was a sad start for the summer for many people. A lot of well paid jobs have gone from the community and I think we are only just starting to see the trickle down effect the closure will have in the city and across the North Island. The union and the City of Campbell River both worked hard to accommodate Catalyst, but the company still walked. While markets obviously played a part in its decision, I think that the blame can be laid at the feet of Campbell’s Liberal government that has spent the last nine years watching as our forest sector disappears. Breaking the link between harvesting and milling was the first step – and in Campbell River we saw the reality of what that meant when Timberwest shut its sawmill; the future of Elk Falls was in the balance from that point on. Our community will survive but it is not going to be easy to make the transition and it is getting no help from the BC Liberals.
Gold River is still working hard to reinvent itself. I was at the public meeting in the village when the community was updated on plans for a waste to energy plant at its former mill site. The community and the company, Covanta, are now waiting for a decision on whether it will have access to processed refuse from Greater Vancouver. I have been and continue to be supportive of the Village’s efforts.
The Vancouver Island Health Authority’s sudden midsummer decision to move services from the laboratory at Campbell River Hospital to Victoria got people scrambling. We are very lucky that in our community we have a network of people keeping on top of health care issues and a speedy response was made. VIHA had committed not to erode services at our hospital, while we wait for the new hospital to be built; I expressed concerns that the organisation was backtracking in letters and phone calls to top management as well as through the media.
VIHA has backed off, at least for now. The shift in lab services is still VIHA’s preference but VIHA management has now committed to discuss any change with doctors and health care providers before any action. It’s bad enough that the fabric of our hospital is getting almost no investment; we cannot afford to see any erosion in the high level of care we expect in Campbell River.
I have also been working with child care coordinators and providers on the lack of funding for their sector: in particular for special needs support and for coordinating support. I am in contact with the Minister of Children and Family Development to get some of the inequalities between the North Island and other areas, ironed out.
We are also busy preparing for some upcoming events in the community. Mark your calendars for August 14th when Finding Our Voices, a youth outreach event, will be held in Spirit Square in Campbell River. We have been working with Youth for Diversity (Y4D) and the City to organise the event which will include a Speaker’s Corner, a game of Political Jeopardy, and free food. It’s on from 11 am to 2pm.
Carole James, the leader of the Opposition, is going to be touring the province at the end of this month and into September to hear what’s working and what isn’t in education. High quality, public education should be a right for every young person in Canada but each jurisdiction has a different approach. School District 72 has been highly innovative over the years and I am pleased that they will host a morning of meetings; that will be followed by meetings in the Courtenay area with SD 71.
And on September 1st my office is organising a local version of Our Province Our Future, a series of conferences looking at the economic future for our communities and the province.
I will be around the constituency for the first two weeks in August then taking two weeks holiday. You can always reach me by email at Claire.trevena.mlaleg.bc.ca; by phone in Campbell River at 1 250 287 5100 or in Port Hardy on 1 250 902 0325.
All the best for the remainder of summer,