Voices heard, action taken
It’s no secret that when people work together, they have the ability to accomplish great things. In our fast-paced world, however, we often forget that it also takes time.
Over the last month, I have been reminded of both after reading some key news stories. These stories show our local successes when standing up for what we know is right. They show how we work together, and that over time we achieve our goals.
First, I was elated to read that Andersen Gardens is now open to tenants moving in. This important housing development for seniors and adults with disabilities will provide stable, secure and affordable roofs over the heads of people in our community.
We didn’t get here without some advocacy though. For years, the Nelson Committee on Homelessness, Canadian Mental Health Association and members of the community called for this housing and worked to make it happen. When the Liberal government was dragging its heels in 2009, I rose in the Legislature to ask why, and sent video letters to the minister a year later asking again for his commitment.
And now people are moving in because we all worked to make it happen.
The fight for Glacier and Howser creeks is another great example. The proposal to dam these two creeks for hydro power at inflated costs to the ratepayers found no traction among the vast majority of locals.
The West Kootenay EcoSociety educated us about what was going on. We spoke out en mass. Five hundred letters were collected from my Nelson meeting, adding to the 500 filing into the Environmental Assessment Office — we showed record level opposition for this private-power-project.
After four-and-a-half years, the final nail sealed the project’s coffin last month when the EAO wrote that the review was terminated because the proponent did not address our concerns.
Another example is 24/7 ER services at Kaslo’s hospital. When the Interior Health Authority gave notice in September that services would be reduced, my office was flooded with your calls. Four hundred residents attended a meeting with the IHA and spoke up for their health care needs. I wrote a letter to the minister and had several phone meetings with IH staff. So did Kaslo’s mayor and the RDCK Area D director. We all had the same message of keeping 24/7 care.
A January 21 Nelson Star article shows the success of our work. The IHA has committed to keep 24/7 ER services in Kaslo and work towards a sustainable model so that it isn’t on the chopping block again.
Looking ahead, I know we will have future successes. We’re working together for a Jumbo Wild, improved health care, fair electoral boundaries, food security, local economic development, and so much more. And I have no doubt that over time, we will be celebrating our achievements.
Michelle Mungall is the NDP MLA for the Nelson-Creston riding. Her column is featured once a month