Here are a couple of interesting news items from supposed senior governments that flashed across our mid-summer desk:
• Parksville Qualicum Beach has once again been ignored by the provincial government when it comes to its Resort Municipality Initiative.
The government announced this week it is handing out $10.5 million to 14 B.C. resort communities for tourism infrastructure and amenities. Places like Fernie, Golden, Revelstoke and Osoyoos are eligible. Parksville Qualicum Beach is not.
More than $98 million has been doled out to communities since the program started in 2006. Revelstoke, for example, is getting about $600,000 this year for museum upgrades and public art projects.
Time and time again we have asked Premier Christy Clark and MLA Michelle Stilwell why Parksville Qualicum Beach is not part of this program. The premier even agreed this area is a resort area as much as any other in the province or the world.
Still, no love from the government for this area from this program. With cash-strapped municipalities here, inclusion in the Resort Municipality Initiative would be both welcome and logical.
• Island Health says following a comprehensive request for proposals aimed at improving wait times for surgery and colonoscopies, it has identified a preferred service provider to deliver publicly-funded day surgery on a contract basis for Island Health. The health authority says contract negotiations with Surgical Centres Inc. will begin in the coming weeks with the aim to have a contract in place in the fall and a new facility open in Greater Victoria by mid-2016 or earlier if possible.
Island Health is saying the surgical facility will function as an extension of operating rooms of Island hospitals, using the health authority’s wait lists and physicians. The request for proposals called for the performance of 3,000-4,000 day surgeries a year for five years, in addition to thousands of colonoscopies.
Do you view this as welcome relief for an over-burdened system, or the first step in the slippery slope to more privatized health care?
We see the former. Yes, there is a bigger picture, but if you are waiting for surgery for many months, do you really care?
— Editorial by John Harding