Area-C candidates address health care, environmental concerns

ELECTORAL AREA-C ELECTION

Area-C candidates address health care, environmental concerns

Full house for Tuesday night’s all-candidates meeting

Cars were lined up down School Road as Electoral Area-C residents filled the Harrison Mills Community Hall Tuesday night for the region’s all-candidates meeting.

The three director candidates, Annie Silver, Wendy Bales and Mel Waardenburg were in attendance, seated within the crowd in a circular format.

Silver introduced herself first and spoke of her experience with municipalities and on a number of boards.

“I don’t have all the specifics of Area-C but I will learn,” she said confidently.

Read More: Sts’ailes woman Annie Silver running for director of Area-C ‘Sasquatch Country’

Waardenberg said he has had a lot of experience funding and negotiating with the provincial government from his time working at Kilby Historic Site.

“Grant funding, budgets, all the tasks involved with running a little historic site,” he said.

Wendy Bales, who served two terms as director from 2008 to 2014, said she is running for the same reason she ran in the past – because she feels that there needs to be an “advocate for the people.”

“I think we really need to listen more to the people,” she said, after referencing development near the Lake Errock wetlands where she says people were not listened to or respected.

Read More: Former ‘Sasquatch Country’ director Wendy Bales running again

Dust suppression

According to one Lake Errock resident, the dust from the area gravel pit isn’t being controlled. What will you do to help? he asked.

Bales said there are dust suppression laws, but they aren’t always followed.

“The trouble is, they’re not properly regulating,” she said. “One of the things I’d like to see is that they regulate when they process gravel…processing gravel creates dust, even when they use water for it.”

Bales said she has been working with the University of Victoria to strengthen laws for aggregate mining.

Waardenburg agreed dust monitoring isn’t happening. He suggested changing a bylaw to increase the tonnage fee that supports regulation efforts.

Silver felt the question had been adequately addressed.

Health care

Sts’ailes chief Ralph Leon stood up and asked candidates how they will address the urgent need for health care and emergency services.

“I call 9-1-1 in my community and it takes 45 minutes to get there,” he said, adding that seeing a doctor becomes a whole-day activity due to the lack of doctors in the area.

Annie Silver responded first.

“For the primary health centre that’s proposed [for] here, it’s going to take working together, all parts of the community as well as the provincial and federal governments to work out what that’s going to look like,” Silver said. “I think a key part of that will be involving Leq’a:mel, Scowlitz and Sts’ailes First Nations to access those First Nations Health Authority dollars, because there is money there for that type of infrastructure and that will benefit all of Area-C.”

Waardenburg said he would have to work on consultation before coming up with a plan.

“Might start smaller with a phased-in plan…then move to more of an expanded health care centre and eventually a walk-in clinic,” he said. “I believe the biggest obstacle to health care is [finding] doctors…so it has to start with a plan working with multiple levels of government and move from there.”

Bales replied that she agreed with Waardenburg, saying that many people – her family included – have to go to Chilliwack or Abbotsford for health care.

“A lot of the issue is not enough health care workers and not enough money… to actually provide for everybody,” she said. “And that’s gonna be a huge issues going into the future no matter where you live.”

Extreme weather up Hemlock

One resident asked the candidates: Are you prepared to realize that Hemlock Valley fights nature?

Waardenburg said the different terrain needs to be recognized when bylaws are created and the area’s unique Official Community Plan (OCP) used to guide decisions.

Bales responded that she would still advocate for avalanche protection.

“There’s a lot of differences up there and understandably there’s a lot of emergency differences as well,” Bales said. “So I advocate differences in the approach to the community in the OCP.”

Living in Sts’ailes, Silver said she can relate to some of the difficulties faced by Hemlock Valley residents. “We deal with the power outages, we deal with the cellphone service or the lack thereof, we deal with the snow and getting locked in during major snowfalls.”

“There’s a lot of diversities in Area-C, our communities being one of them,” replied Silver. “And I think bringing all the people together and working with all the different people to help understand those differences will help things operate more smoothly.”

Area-C candidates also addressed property taxes, water testing and Air BnBs. Read more about the candidates and their platforms in the Election section of agassizharrisonobserver.com.

Read More: Q & A with Electoral Area-C director candidates

General voting day for Electoral Area-C residents is Saturday, Oct. 20 from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. at the Scowlitz First Nation Boardroom – 12892 Moses Street, Lake Errock.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mandeep Grewal was gunned down outside an Abbotsford bank in October 2018. Police said a violent gang war to control drug-line territory was going on at that time. Drug charges have now been announced against seven people. (FILE PHOTO: John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
7 people face 38 charges related to gang drug activity in Abbotsford and Mission

Police say investigation began in 2018 into expansion of Brothers Keepers’ drug line

A memorial to former Abbotsford and RCMP police officer Shinder Kirk in Cedar, B.C. Kirk died in a car accident on Cedar Road in December 2018. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Trial begins for driver involved in car crash that killed retired Abbotsford police sergeant

RCMP accident reconstructionist takes stand in trial of Conrad Nikolaus Wetten

RCMP
Vehicle in alleged hit and run ploughs into road sign in downtown Chilliwack

Police are looking for footage of a gold-coloured two-door Chevy car

The map shows the number of COVID-19 cases for the week of April 25 to May 1. The darkest areas indicate communities with a daily average of more than 20 cases per 100,000 population. (BC Centre of Disease Control)
Surrey and Abbotsford battle for top COVID hotspot in Fraser Health

Two communities are among areas across province showing highest transmission

One section of a bank of community mailboxes in Ryder Lake was stolen. (Facebook photo)
Brazen thief goes next level with mail theft in Ryder Lake

Chilliwack RCMP confirm a section of a community mailbox was taken off its base and removed

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Hundreds gathered for a candlelight vigil Friday evening (May 7) to remember 29-year-old corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, who was killed in last weekend’s brazen daylight shooting outside North Delta’s Scottsdale Centre mall. (James Smith photo)
Hundreds gather to remember victim of North Delta shooting

Corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, 29, was killed in what police say was a targeted incident

Flags flown at half mast out front of Fraser Regional Correctional Centre for slain corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa. (Neil Corbett/ The News)
Public vigil and flying flags at half mast done to honour slain prison guard

Maple Ridge corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, 29, is being remembered in a number of ways

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Most Read