Ashcroft water plant highlight of 2015

Ashcroft Mayor Jack Jeyes looks back at the highlights of 2015 in Ashcroft.

Last year was a year of successes if not victories for Ashcroft and Mayor Jack Jeyes says he’s looking forward to a better year in 2016.

“Most important to us, the new fire truck was approved,” he said, recalling the highlights of 2015. “And as far as the Fire Dept. is concerned, the TNRD is going to be replacing the tender – the big tank that belongs to the TNRD in order for us to respond to fires within the TNRD around us.”

Just as important, he says, is the $5.7 million grant for the new water treatment plant

“We were very lucky to get that amount for a village of our size,” he says. “That was a lot of hard work by our MLA.”

“We got together as a Council and developed our Strategic Plan so we now have a roadmap for the next few years,” says Jeyes. “I think it’s all things that are achievable and will have benefit for the village.”

He says it pleases him to see local companies like Desert Hills Ranch and Ashcroft Terminal growing, although the Village still hasn’t come up with a plan to develop new housing and it worries him that it’s not in place yet to support the business growth. “But that’s something that’s in our Strategic Plan and we’re working towards that,” he says. But it’s a long process in determing where and what Ashcroft wants for residential development.

“The other thing I’m awfully pleased about is the announcement that we will be getting two doctors in February, provided everything falls into place.”

Reforming local health care is one of the Wellness Health Action Coalition’s (WHAC)  goals, and Jeyes thinks they’ve made noticeable improvements in that area.

“In February the province released documents that finally started talking about patient-centered treatments and primary care. Those kids of things weren’t being talked about before,” he said.

There’s still room for improvement in health care: “I would like to see local health care continue to evolve,” he says. “There are things that have been taken into Kamloops from here that we do better here. I’d like to see those things come back.”

He recalls the May 23 flood in Cache Creek and feels there are lessons to be learned from it.

“I was at dinner when I received a call from our Fire Chief,” he says. “They were on site at the time, having been called on through their joint agreement with the Cache Creek Fire Dept. We rely so heavily on our fire departments as first responder.”

They were asking to take some equipment to Cache Creek to help with the flood.

“I think that particular flood highlights the issues of small communities in that there needs to be a system in place,” he says, “where help can be there as quickly as possible – and when I say help, I mean right from administrative help to equipment. I think it’s partially in place already through the TNRD.”

“Overall, I think 2015 was probably a reasonably good year,” he says with a little caution. “Some things are going right because real estate seems to be selling.

“During the summer I saw a lot of younger kids and young families. I haven’t seen that in a long time. To me,” says Jeyes, “that’s a really, really healthy sign. Young people are either moving home after growing up here and leaving to get education and jobs and coming back, or they’re coming in for jobs

“I’d like to see  continued growth in the downtown core. A healthy downtown, to me, is the next sign that we want to see. It drives people to want to move here, and people want to move here drives the health of the business core,” he says.

“I’m looking forward to 2016,” says Jeyes. “I really am.”