Sign on Highway 97. Journal files

Victoria Report

Pursuing a bright future for our rural communities

By Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart

I hope everyone is enjoying the summer, catching up with loved ones, and taking a bit of a break. With the return of many community events, it’s been nice to reconnect and share some optimism for the future.

I’m hoping we’ll hold on to this positive outlook and make good progress rebuilding the communities devastated by climate events in 2021. The region has yet to fully recover, and recent mudslides have meant residents are dealing with cut-off transportation routes and airlifts again. I continue to urge the province to work across ministries to mitigate, prevent, and prepare for the future, and support efforts at the local level any way I can.

Other shared concerns in our rural communities include health care and the lack of ambulance service. Not only have patients been impacted, but rural fire halls are feeling squeezed as they are being asked to respond to more and more medical calls. I continue to press the provincial government to hear the concerns of our overwhelmed health care workers and do more immediately to support them.

When it comes to the doctor shortage, this week’s government announcement of funds to temporarily assist family physicians with overhead costs is a good first step, but much more needs to be done to recruit and retain doctors and cut the bureaucratic red tape that’s hampering them. The province must work much more quickly on this issue, for the benefit of patients and health care workers.

Despite these complex challenges, we can’t lose sight of what makes our rural communities great: from the natural beauty to world-class recreation and tourism offerings to being part of a unique and close-knit community. I continue to urge the government to do what is necessary to help rural B.C. thrive.

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