General News · 16th July 2012
Summer is here at last and hopefully thatís good news for our busy tourism sector in the North Island. I know that the ridiculously high ferry fares have had an impact on some businesses. The season is short and there is a great deal of economic and emotional investment on both the business and consumer end.
I have been working with some tourism operators in facilitating meetings with the Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation to explore ways of integrating their needs with those of the natural resource sectors. Our communities survive because we can find balances between differing needs and demands.
The Minister returned to Campbell River this week, for the second round of meetings on the pilot jobs plan. There is no question that the tight time frame for the pilot is linked to the election timetable and a quickly organized meeting could be an excuse for a government photo-op, but that doesnít lessen the importance of working together on economic regeneration. Rivercorp, the economic development agency in the city, has been bringing projects together and the community is dedicated in making sure that we do create long term, sustainable jobs.
Earlier in July, I was honoured to attend the signing on Cortes of the agreement between the Klahoose First Nation and the Cortes Forestry Co-operative to create a legal entity to apply for a community forest license for the Island. This has been many years in the making and the dedication and hard work of those who have managed to get it to this stage should be recognized. A community forest is an ideal development for the Island as it would give all the people of Cortes a voice in the use of the land base and it will allow for a sustainable industry.
Part of every communityís economic foundation is viable health care which is why I am pleased that after years of discussion and much hard work and lobbying by community members Campbell River is getting its new hospital. This will not only bring jobs in the construction of it, but will also give a sense of security to those who are looking at settling in the region that their health care needs will be met. However it is troubling that the Vancouver Island Health Authority is committed to a public-private partnership (3P) in the building and maintenance of our new hospital. This is a very costly way to build public and operate infrastructure and it locks the health authority into a long-term contract with the private sector for maintenance. It is also troubling that there is still not clarity on whether a P3 will also mean the privatization of cleaning and other jobs presently done by unionized health authority employees.
I have written to the President of VIHA as well as to the Minister of Health about the crisis facing health care in Port Hardy. While there are moves towards a primary health care clinic, the community is facing the prospect of only having three doctors. This seriously undermines both the confidence people have in the health care system and negatively impacts the ability to attract new people and businesses to the area.
As critic for the Minister of Children and Family Development I continue to have meetings with various individuals and organizations about the Ministryís operation. In particular I am hearing a great deal of concern about the new multi-million dollar computer system (ICM) which has been introduced but which does not meet the needs of front line social workers. This is an issue I have already raised with the Minister in the Legislature and will continue to pursue.
I have been asked what is happening with the Oppositionís four-person forestry committee, of which I am a member. It is in abeyance for the time being while our two forestry critics are working on a legislative committee looking at timber supply and the impact of the mountain pine beetle
July is a good time for celebrations: many plaudits go to the organizers of Campbell Riverís spectacular Canada Day events and a huge bundle of thanks to Trevenaís Team, who joined me in the parade on their bicycles. Later this week Iíll be up in Port Hardy to enjoy Filomi Days.
Much of the rest of the month Iíll be on the road with meetings in Port McNeill, Port Hardy, Courtenay, Nanaimo and Victoria. Iíll be taking some time off during August, but may see you camping by one of the lovely North Island lakes. My office in Port Hardy will be closed through August.
You can always reach me by email at Claire.trevena.mlaleg.bc.ca ; friend me on Facebook or follow clairetrevena on Twitter. If you want to call, the Campbell River office number is 250 287 5100 and toll free we are on 1 866 387 5100.