The starting gun hasn’t even sounded, but this athlete-turned MLA is facing a race that has to be peculiar to her experience.
Local issues were ignored by candidates during the Parksville Qualicum provincial election campaign, so perhaps now it’s time Michelle Stilwell concentrated on the job at hand as it relates to her constituents, putting some important on-the-ground needs and concerns front and centre.
We have some suggestions. Yes, we are helpful that way.
• If she doesn’t already, Stilwell needs to have the cell phone number of future Oceanside Health Centre (OHC) boss Sheila Cruickshank on speed dial. We are told the OHC will open on time June 24 but we are also told it will take until at least September for the services, and the promised hours of service (7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., seven days a week, 365 days a year) to be phased in.
We would hope our MLA races to get up to speed on the process and can do a better job than the Vancouver Island Health Authority does at telling people of Parksville Qualicum Beach what is going to be available and when. To be fair, VIHA has its hands tied to a degree on what it can release to the public due to the provisions of union contracts, but we would respectfully suggest our new MLA is somewhat less encumbered.
• There is a provincial program that provides millions of dollars to resort communities for infrastructure improvements. The theory — and it’s a sound one in our view — is an influx of hundreds of thousands of tourists each year puts a strain on a community’s roads, water systems, etc. When Premier Christy Clark was here during the campaign, we asked her how the formula for inclusion in this program could possibly exclude Parksville Qualicum Beach.
The premier told The NEWS she would look into it.
“I would be happy to sit down and talk to them about that,” she said. “This community has all the characteristics of any great resort around the world.”
Well then, MLA-elect Stilwell, your new boss clearly made a commitment to at least talk to the people involved in the infrastructure program. What’s more, she clearly believes we should be considered a resort community.
— Editorial by John Harding