Mid-July MLA Update

Note from CBRA: If you read far enough along you might recognize a familiar face from Cadboro Bay. Also, this report highlights the 37 new child care spaces coming to Queenswood in early 2022, among other newsworthy items.

A Note On The Wildfires 

In Victoria, unlike in the Interior or northern regions of our province, we often do not experience the direct effects of wildfires.

We also don’t see the gruelling hours of overtime the firefighters and logistical staff of the BC Wildfire Service spend protecting homes, digging fireguards, and facilitating the emotionally challenging work of evacuating residents. I know the sacrifices this work requires; I am proud to have a former BCWS firefighter working in my constituency office.

To all our frontline workers and residents in the areas of BC affected by wildfire, know that our hearts are with you. This has already been a terrible year. Though often we can only see the smoke in Victoria, I know the immense challenges that severe wildfire activity imposes upon our communities.

To help people affected by the wildfires in the Interior and North, we’re matching all donations to the Red Cross, up to $20 million.

Moving forward, there is cause for optimism in decreasing the risk of severe wildfires by utilizing Indigenous knowledge.  Our government’s recently announced Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy calls for expanding cultural and prescribed burnings by Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities alike.

Prescribed burnings have been used for generations by Indigenous peoples to care for their lands, resulting in regenerated ecosystems and a reduced risk of wildfires.  Experts say this practice has the ability to make a critical difference in the fight against wildfires moving forward; this is a true example of how reconciliation and good government go hand in hand.  

To have your contribution matched, please consider donation to the Canadian Red Cross here:
Taking Action To Improve Ambulance Services 

In the last months, I have heard from constituents concerned about recent reports of long wait times for emergency services.When you call 911 for a medical emergency, you should feel confident that help is on the way.  That is why our government is taking action this week to improve BC’s ambulance system, making it faster and more responsive, and a better place to work for paramedics.Minister Dix has indicated we are hiring 85 new full-time paramedics and 30 new full-time dispatchers. We’re also funding 22 new ambulances around the province. To better serve rural communities, we’re converting 22 rural ambulance stations to 24/7 ALPHA stations. We’re also directing health authorities to add additional staff at hospital emergency departments to receive patients from ambulances – so that paramedics can get back on the road to respond to calls more quickly.Our government is also making changes to the board and leadership of BC Emergency Health Services, making it more accountable to the Minister of Health, with a mandate to ensure better service for British Columbians.These measures build on our New Democrat government’s record of investment in provincial ambulance services. Since 2017, the BC Emergency Health Services annual budget has increased from $424.25 million to $559.12 million a year, doubling the average annual spending increases compared to the previous year. There is more to do, and we’re committed to making sure these services are there when people are counting on them.

Our government will always make high-quality public health care a priority, and when issues arise, we will ensure our medical professionals and first responders receive the resources they need to best serve our communities.    

Community News

The province and the federal government have partnered with the University of Victoria to announce 37 new childcare spaces at UVic’s Queenswood campus.  These new spaces will lessen wait times for families by up to 3 years a while, helping our government meet its pledge of universal 10 dollar daycare. 

On July 12, our government announced $46 million to replace Cedar Hill Middle School.  Cedar Hill is a vital feeder school for families in our constituency, providing French and English education.  The new school design will exceed the LEED Gold Equivalent design standards by ensuring its heat pumps, classroom ventilation, air systems, and more are built to the highest sustainability standards.  The project will also include a neighbourhood learning centre for community programs.

Early this month, I had the pleasure of meeting John Hillman, a remarkable person and a decorated veteran of the Second World War. At the age of 102, Mr. Hillman spent a week completing 102 laps of the courtyard at Carlton House in support of charity.  It was an honour to present him with a certificate to recognize his achievement, integrity, and lifelong dedication to public service.  

It was great to catch up with Eric Dahli in our constituency office after the announcement of his retirement as president of the Cadboro Bay Residents Association.  I will sorely miss Eric’s service, whether through providing advocacy for residents or providing expertise on the issues of derelict boats; Eric was truly a giant of our community.  I look forward to building a great relationship with the new chair of the residents association to help me best serve the residents of Cadboro Bay!  

I enjoyed meeting with the Canadian College of the Performing Arts team to learn more about their future plans and the educational opportunities they provide.  I appreciate their invitation to view their college and look forward to following their continuing contribution to the arts in the years to come.     

Recent Government News

This month, our government announced support for British Columbians looking to start a career working with seniors through the launch of the Home and Independent Living program (HaIL).  HaiL will enroll 100 students across the provinces in classes where they will receive industry-recognized credentials.  Seniors deserve the support; our government stands ready to provide that support.  

Today, our government lifted restrictions on visits to long-term care homes.  I have heard from many constituents how tough it has been to not see their loved ones living in long-term care.  The pandemic has been difficult for both residents and staff at long-term care homes, especially in our community where many seniors reside.  Due to the tremendous uptake in vaccinations by the people of BC, I am happy to announce a place where we can lift restrictions, making it easier for people to spend time with their loved ones.

The pandemic has been hard on the hospitality sector, to say the least. Pubs and licensed restaurants are now able to provide piña coladas with pizzas and mojitos with main courses for takeout or delivery.  As a culinary hub in our province, this is great news for our community.  

BC added 42,000 jobs this June.  While the pandemic has been hard on our economy, brighter days are ahead as we move forward with our safe Restart Plan.  It is clear our economic recovery is gaining momentum. BC has now surpassed pre-pandemic employment levels recovering over 100 percent of the jobs lost during COVID-19.    

Health Care In Oak Bay Gordon Head

As MLA, ensuring the residents of our community have access to primary care, specialist care, and seniors care a top priority.  I am aware that many residents have been left feeling frustrated and concerned over the retirement of doctors, wait times at hospitals, and the closure of clinics in recent months. Rest assured, I am aware of these difficulties. I have been working hard to address these concerns comprehensively. 

I am looking forward to reporting back soon on some new developments that will have a great impact on healthcare in our constituency in the coming weeks.  As the province’s Urgent and Primary Care Networks continue to be established across British Columbia, I am confident the people of our community can look forward to a bright future in high-quality and accessible health care primary care, seniors care and more.  

I also want to draw our communities attention to the redevelopment of the Oak Bay Lodge. The second round of consultation for the  Oak Bay Lodge is currently running until August 8, with two online open houses on July 20 & 22.  For this consultation, feedback is based on three building/health services options based on program assessments in coordination with Island Health and CRHD.

Please visit the Oak Bay Lodge dedicated webpage for information on how to take part:

The Oak Bay Lodge is an invaluable public healthcare asset that has the potential to meet many of our community’s most critical health priorities.  I will continue to monitor the redevelopment process and ensure the province helps the project meet our community’s health needs. 

Murray Rankin 

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