Local residents talk about rural issues

Rural Caucus chair, MLA Donna Barnett, comes to Clinton, Ashcroft and Cache Creek on Oct. 10.

Donna Barnett, the Chair of the BC Government Rural Caucus will be in Clinton, Ashcroft, and Cache Creek on Oct. 10 to meet with local community and business representatives and hear from them about how the B.C. government can improve the lives of rural British Columbians.

“As Chair of the BC Government Rural Caucus I look forward to meeting with local residents and representatives and hearing their views on how we can improve the lives of rural British Columbians,” said Barnett, MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin. “As an MLA who represents a rural constituency, I know firsthand that the needs of B.C.’s smaller communities can be quite different than those in urban centres. It is important rural B.C. has a strong voice in Victoria and this is why I and other members of the Rural Caucus are consulting with people right across our province.”

The Clinton consultation will take place at 10 a.m. at the village office on the Cariboo Highway. The meeting in Ashcroft will be held at the Village Office on Bancroft St. at 3 p.m., while the consultation in Cache Creek is set to begin at 4 p.m. at the village office on Quartz Rd. At each stop Barnett will hear ideas from the local council along with listening to other community representatives and individuals.

The BC Government Rural Caucus was formed by Premier Christy Clark in May 2011 and was given the mandate to travel to visit rural communities, consult with people, and listen to their concerns and their ideas about what the provincial government can do to enhance the lives of rural British Columbians.

Last year, the Rural Caucus travelled across BC and heard from more than 190 presenters, who came from over 40 communities. From these meetings and other submissions, a report, identifying issues and recommendations, was presented to the provincial Cabinet late last year and the government has already taken action on many of these issues.

The work of Rural Caucus has helped influence decisions the provincial government has made on programs and policies including: reviewing the municipal taxation formula; the launch of a comprehensive review of the carbon tax; expanding high-speed Internet access and cellular services; amending the Nurse Practitioners Statues Act to allowing nurse practitioners to participate more fully in the health care system; and increased funding for rural and remote schools and small school districts.