Ministry of Health needs fact checkup

Port Hardy unimpressed with minister's recommendations on healthcare.

PORT HARDY—Councillors were less than impressed with correspondence from the Hon. Terry Lake, Minister of Health, last week.

Local representatives met with the minister at UBCM earlier this year to discuss Port Hardy’s physician recruitment and retention difficulties. They were left askance at what, for all intents and purposes, appeared to be a form letter response.

Among the minister’s sage advice was a recommendation that, “The community of Port Hardy may also want to consider the option of recruiting a nurse practitioner.” Port Hardy has already recruited and added two nurse practitioners within the past year.

“I honestly couldn’t believe this when I read it,” said Mayor Bev Parnham. “It’s really obvious that they didn’t look into the situation at all. Tells the whole story, folks.”

Skate meeting

Councillors John Tidbury and Jessie Hemphill brought the council up to speed on the previous weekend’s skate club meeting at Municipal Hall.

Tidbury said the meeting to discuss the potential of revamping the town’s skate park was “well-attended” for a first meeting, noting the wide range of ages represented. “(Meeting Chair Stephen) Ralph did a fine presentation,” he said.

He note that the central emphasis at the meeting was on forming a club to further the agenda.

Hemphill also reported on the meeting but noted that many in attendance were junior skaters and the group would need some more senior representatives to fill board positions in a club. “There was a lot of good momentum,” she said. “It was just nice to see a lot of young people filling the Municipal Hall.”

Ferries

Coun. Hemphill said she was, “disappointed at the lack of input we had,” at the recent ferries engagement.

A panel of representatives from the Ministry of Transport and BC Ferries held a public question and answer session in the town last week, and were taken to task over recently announced cuts to the coastal ferries service. The meeting was the first of several planned for communities up and down the coast in coming weeks.

Mayor Parnham reflected on the response to the engagement in other communities, saying, “People are all coming out with very much the same impression as us.

“The thing that was absolutely appalling was that there was absolutely no socio-economic study done. They have no idea of the magnitude of effects this will have on communities like ours.”

Island Health

Councillors had meetings last week with Island Health representatives to discuss the Health Authority’s long-term strategic plan.

Mayor Parnham called it a “good meeting,” noting progress was continuing locally on the addition of a temporary expansion to the health clinic. This addition is expected to be operational within six months, council heard.

In addition, Port Hardy will welcome another physician in the new year. The new addition is expected to start sometime in late January or early February, said the mayor. “This will bring us up to five (physicians),” she told council. “We’re getting close to the full complement of six; haven’t seen that in a while.”

As part of its planning process, Island Health would like to hear from local residents. A survey can be found at viha.fluidsurveys.com/s/ih2018/.

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