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General News · 17th December 2018
Mary Carstairs
MLA report Dec 2018

As the year draws to a close I wanted to mark our government’s 17th month anniversary by highlighting a few achievements which are going to have a direct impact to people in North Island.

Last week an historic agreement on the future of fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago was signed jointly by our government, First Nations and industry players Marine Harvest and Cermaq. It will result in the removal of 10 farms along salmon migration routes by 2022 while 7 others will need to have First Nations approval and DFO sign-off to continue operating beyond 2023. A First Nations monitoring programme will be put in place and the industry will be looking at new technologies for their operations. Marine Harvest and Cermaq have both said this should not result in job losses.

Still on an environmental theme, our CleanBC plan was unveiled 10 days ago. This is an aggressive approach to meet climate action targets and will mean a rapid shift to electrification of industry and transportation. In my Ministry, BC Transit is moving towards electric buses and the inland ferries will be all electric. By 2040 every new vehicle sold in BC will have to have zero emissions. There are also plans to help people who want to retrofit their homes and move to cleaner energy sources; one immediately available is the woodstove exchange programme.

I was really pleased to be at the opening of a new, affordable, housing project in Campbell River. The former Travelodge has been transformed and is providing 39 units, each renting at $500 a month. It’s being run by M’akola Housing and has already become home to 16 people. We have an urgent and ambitious housing agenda. It is a plan to create 114,000 homes in 10 years. Some of that for the first time will be money going to First Nations for on-reserve housing. In the North Island, Fort Rupert and Gwa'sala Nakwaxda'xw will be receiving assistance to help deal with their housing shortage.

The North Island is also benefitting from our commitment to affordable childcare. We introduced the affordable childcare benefit for families who have a pre-tax income of less than $111,000. It can bring down childcare costs dramatically. And the Rainbow Country Daycare Society in Port Hardy is one of 51 childcare centres around BC to act as a test site for a universal $200 a month childcare prorgramme. Different centres, private, non-profit, indigenous and public that cater to different age groups, such as infant or toddler, are being included as we develop a model for the whole province.

Students will see changes in the classroom as a new curriculum and new graduation programme are introduced in the next school year. For the first time, the new K-12 curriculum ensures Indigenous knowledge and perspectives are woven across all grades and areas of learning. The graduation program will focus on students developing foundational skills like reading, writing and math while helping them build a range of other competencies that employers and post-secondary institutions are looking for; such as creative and analytical skills and entrepreneurial skills and leadership.

Most people are likely already aware that, as Minister, I reduced speed limits on the Inland Island Highway last month. This decision was made because the three years of data collected since the limit was increased to 120 km/hr revealed a dramatic increase in accidents. The speed limit there is now 110 km/hr while the highway from Campbell River to Sayward is back to 90 km/hr.

As Minister, I celebrate some major achievements; such as passing legislation that will modernize the taxi industry and pave the way for app-based ride hailing. As well, we’re working on a number of smaller but still essential matters that impact people’s daily life. For example, we’re working on a safer crossing at the Quadra school; we’re looking at installing sound barriers near the Campbell River Reserve on Highway 19A; and, we’re getting ready to start on a passing lane near Roberts Lake.

On a final note, I was extraordinarily pleased that Alberta Billy was awarded the Medal of Good Citizenship. Long before reconciliation became part of all our lives, Alberta was working in a quiet and determined way to make it a reality. It is always an honour to see her work in our community. She is recognised as an elder with wisdom for all.

My office will be closed to allow staff to have a break from 21st December to 2nd January. We will however be checking phone messages and emails so feel free to contact me at or by phone on 250 287 5100 in Campbell River, 250 949 9473 in Port Hardy and toll free on 1 866 387 5100.

I hope that everyone has a calm Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

A Shining Example of Good Government
Comment by Richard Lawton on 25th December 2018
Clear, honest, open, concise, well planned and executed, considerate, unbiased, unafraid, unaffected by self interest, vested interest and cronyism.

Every politician and civil servant can benefit by studying this!

Providing you are achieving it without debt or tax hikes... Bravo!