VIHA’s commitment questioned

Mayor's letter calls Health Authority to reaffirm intentions for North island.

PORT HARDY—Mayor Bev Parnham was able to impart some good news for Port Hardy’s health care at last week’s council meeting: “I’m happy to be able to tell you that a new physician has been hired for Port Hardy.”

The new addition is expected to arrive on the North Island in the near future on a two-year contract.

But the good news was tempered by a growing concern over VIHA’s commitment to building a new facility in the town.

Councillors saw a copy of a strongly worded letter to the VIHA board questioning its commitment to the North Island project.

“We seem to be getting mired up in a lot of technicalities,” explained the mayor. “We’re planning it to death — we know what we want up here but VIHA isn’t listening.”

As a result of frustration with emergency room closures in 2011, a Local Working Group formed and, over a six-month period, drafted a series of recommendations which were presented to VIHA.

Among those recommendations was Mission Critical Recommendation 32, which recommended “VIHA … support the creation of two integrated Community Care Facilities in the region, starting with Port Hardy.”

The response to the LWG’s report was in favour of this move: “VIHA wholeheartedly endorses this recommendation and has committed $100,000 in 2012/2013 to begin planning in earnest.”

In subsequent meetings, the LWG was informed that a capital planning marker had been put in place to fund construction of the facility in 2014. But recently the mayor noted with concern a repeated suggestion from VIHA representatives that the proposed integrated healthcare model could be implemented without building a new facility.

In her letter, the mayor pointed to the recently completed Oceanside Health Centre in Parksville as an example of the LWG’s vision, and underscored the importance of having all providers under one roof before noting the disparities between the progress on the two projects.

“The Oceanside project managed to go from concept to design to finish within eighteen months. Port Hardy citizens are asking why it is taking so long for our facility to be built and I am asking on their behalf why our very committed but exhausted Local Working Group seems to be sent back to the drawing board time after time by VIHA regarding this project. I am also asking whether the (VIHA) Board is still committed to this project and a 2014 build date for the first facility in Port Hardy?”

The letter also asks “Why should the citizens of Port Hardy and the Mt. Waddington region be satisfied with less than the standard of care and superior health outcomes enjoyed by larger communities in the VIHA region from Campbell River south?”

The VIHA board will be on the North Island some time around late September for a board meeting, and councillors looked forward to airing their concerns in person. The exact date is still to be finalized.

 

 

 

Fire truck

Council gave approval for the purchase of a light duty truck by Port Hardy Fire Rescue, though the approval comes with caveats.

Fire Chief Schell Nickerson requested approval for the purchase of the $9,000 vehicle, a 2006 F250 from Courtenay Fire Department. Nickerson proposed using funds from the Capital Works Reserve with contributions from the Volunteer Firefighters Association, and said the truck would have a host of potential benefits.

Director of Corporate and Development Services Jeff Long told councillors “There’s a slew of rationale for it. It looks like a fairly good deal.”

The council agreed to approve the purchase provided the PHVFA passed a resolution to cover the total cost. Council would then accept the cost of the vehicle’s maintenance.

 

 

 

Salmon funds

With the BC Salmon Farmers Association’s AGM slated for Port Hardy later this month, Mary Ellen Waring, the association’s Executive Director, wrote to council asking that it agree to continue its annual sponsorship of the event.

With the exception of 2008, the council has been a sponsor since 2005.

Council agreed to continue its bronze-level donation to the event, at the rate of $1,000.

 

Just Posted

North Island MLA Michele Babchuk. Photo contributed
COMMENTARY: MLA Michele Babchuk talks the future of forestry

‘These forests are important to every single one of us, myself included’

Dr. Prean Armogam hands over a cheque for $10,000 to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society president Rosaline Glynn. The money will be going towards a new roof for the Port Hardy seniors centre. This is the second donation Dr. Armogam has made to the society, giving them $5,000 a little over a year ago. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Doctor donates $10k to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society for new roof

This was the second donation Armogam has given to the society

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

Blueprints for the seniors housing project in Port Hardy. (North Island Seniors Housing Foundation photo)
BC Housing declines North Island Seniors Housing Foundation’s proposal to build units

BC Housing will be explaining why exactly the project was declined at a June 18 meeting

An aerial view of the marine oil-spill near Bligh Island in Nootka sound that the Canadian Coast Guard posted in a live social media feed in December. ( Canadian Coast Guard/Facebook)
Oil from vessel that sank in 1968 off Vancouver Island to be removed

DFO hires Florida firm to carefully remove oil from MV Schiedyk in Nootka Sound starting in mid-June

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read