1. I have served three terms as Director for TNRD Area “I”. The last term was the most challenging with COVID-19, fires, and floods. My wife Paulet and I raised five wonderful children and are now the proud grandparents of 10 grandchildren. My passions are family, community, writing, and soccer.
2. Rural has so many challenges, but health care would have to be the most pressing issue that must be addressed. From emergency services to hospital closures to access to a family physician to addictions to mental health…so many challenges.
First off we need to think outside the box. Mental health: how about a pilot program that screens those who have been in the mental health merry-go-round for decades but have also been trying. Drug dealers are not accountable. The courts simply do not have the tools in their toolbox to incarcerate habitual dealers. How about a “three strike” law and the judge can put them in jail for a long time. Interior Health is a top-down agency. Until we begin a bottom-up process, the issues will remain.
3. Right back to health care, across the board. We recruit doctors well, but can’t retain them, so we have an up-and-down system where literally some days you can see a doctor or go to the emergency room and the next you can’t. Doctors can’t bond to the wonderful offerings of a rural lifestyle because they don’t have the time to explore it. We need to get the numbers to a level where they can.
Interior Health has determined that Ashcroft needs five full-time doctors to serve our area. Sadly, the answer to getting there has not yet been found. Royal Inland has a “state of the art” new tower, and it is impressive. Will it attract more psychiatrists, doctors, nurses, etc.? I hope so. Our board had a tour and I asked that exact question. Interior Health replied that they hoped so.
4. I would bring my experience. My ability to navigate funding avenues is critical. Partnering and leveraging funding takes work with capital projects. I am passionate about doing the work for our communities. Relationships — with First Nations, MLAs, MPs, Ministers, Ministry of Transportation, TELUS, BC Hydro, and many more — are all important.