A motion that calls on the province to appoint Central Saanich to the single seat to the Transit Commission passed resoundingly at Council on November 14th. This was the first business meeting of the new term.
The motion also informs each of the other peninsula municipalities that Central Saanich is seeking the seat. "I'm hoping that we secure this appointment and can see a strong advocate for transit at the commission." Central Saanich recently brought forward a resolution to the Union of BC Municipalities that calls on the province to expand its fare-free transit program from 12 to 13 and under.
The province will answer this call over the months to come.
After a successful re-election campaign, Zeb King (Councillor re-elect) says he immediately identifies three major issues to focus our attention on.
- Transit Seat: A window of opportunity is quickly closing, and Cllr King calls on Mayor and Council to seize this opportunity. "Central Saanich must be given the single peninsula seat at the Victoria Transit Commission," says King. The single seat for the peninsula municipalities is supposed to rotate each term to a new municipality appointed by the province, but a mistake was made in the last term. The seat should have gone to Central Saanich in 2018, but without explanation and despite howls of protest by Cllr King in the previous term and a letter sent by the Council, the province re-appointed North Saanich. "Before the two terms held by North Saanich, Sidney held the peninsula seat. That means Central Saanich hasn't held the seat for over a decade, which is unacceptable," Says King. "As a re-elected transit advocate, I'm calling on Mayor and Council to ensure the province doesn't ignore Central Saanich again." The province will make its appointments known soon, and King will ensure that Central Saanich is as proactive on this as possible.
- Climate Deadline Looming: Central Saanich has only eight years to reach the first target of its ambitious carbon reduction targets (45% reduction by 2030). The next four years will tell whether we are serious about achieving the target or not. We have no room to roll back or go slow if we are serious about the target and the Climate Leadership Plan Bayside School students pushed Council to adopt in 2019. (See, CS Climate Leadership Plan)
- Protecting Rural/Farmlands: Finally, Central Saanich is unique in the region. The next four years will test whether we continue to hold the line on protecting rural and farmlands against urban sprawl. Development pressure may intensify, but maintaining the urban containment boundary will continue to be a defining issue for Central Saanich and help us keep a quality of life, including food security, critical to the region.
Many other issues are also important, and King notes that "we can walk and chew gum at the same time," meaning that we will also address a myriad of other issues. Do you agree with these priorities or have more to add? Please comment, email or text. [email protected]
Imagine our community in 15 years or 50 years. How many people will live here? Will we still have farmland and how will climate change impact us by then?
I'm inviting you to meet with me to brainstorm, imagine or 'blue sky' our future by clicking the link below.
Click here to select a date to meet
Julia W. — Merritt's first nurse practitioner
The evolving physician shortage in BC and elsewhere in Canada is receiving a great deal of media attention. Most of the solutions proposed involve making it more attractive for doctors to practice here. There is an alternative. I firmly believe that if certain barriers were overcome, we could have comprehensive, patient-focused primary health care for people of all ages with better utilization of Nurse Practitioners.
So what are some of the barriers that NP’s face, and why are they not more widely used? The public, doctors and health care administrators do not realize their full scope of practice and may not trust that they are as well trained as doctors in diagnosing and treating disease. According to Dr. Susan Prendergast, an NP professor at the University of Victoria, “the evidence strongly shows that their care is equal to or better than that of family physicians and is significantly more cost-effective”.
NP’s are Masters prepared nurses who are trained and licensed to autonomously diagnose and treat illness. They can order and interpret lab tests and x-rays, prescribe medications and perform many medical procedures. They are trained to treat you as a whole person, to consider your health’s impact on your family and community, and to teach you about disease prevention and promotion of good health. They can also assist people with management of chronic illnesses such as diabetes or Alzheimer’s Disease. They work in medical clinics, community health centres, hospitals, long-term care settings and outpatient clinics. Most are hired on a salary which in Canada is estimated to be $98,000 annually. There are currently about 7,140 licensed NPs in Canada.
A recent NP client, Linda B., commented that “Following my NP doing my annual physical and lab work, I had an extensive interview with her, and I felt like I was really being listened to. My doctor retired, and now my NP does everything he did except surgery. I find that with the other members in her team practice, I get care that is complete, efficient and timely”.
Another major barrier is the current hiring practices of NP’s. Most are hired on contracts, with inadequate compensation that does not include benefits such as health care and maternity leave. Dr. Prendergast noted, “many leave high paying Nursing positions only to discover that after expenses, they are actually working much harder for less pay.”
A third barrier exists in the education of NPs. Because there are too few practicing Nurse Practitioners in the province, practicum placements for students are at a premium, thereby limiting enrollment size. The government had planned to double the number of enrollees in BC, but Nursing Schools are unable to comply. Physicians can - and sometimes do - supervise NP students, but they must do so without pay. Most prefer to take on medical students as the compensation rate for their supervision is significant.
It is clear that a partial solution to the current physician shortage is to fully engage Nurse Practitioners in our health care system. They have the potential to more fully involve patients in decisions about their health care, improve access to primary care and reduce pressures on the health system. As a health profession in Canada since the 1960s and regulated in BC since 2005, it is time to renew our commitment to NPs and address our primary care shortages.
Municipal Councillor for Central Saanich, RRU student and formerly 13 years in Health Human Resources at the Ministry of Health
Merritt Herald, Meet Merritt’s first nurse practitioner (July 16, 2015) https://www.merrittherald.com/meet-merritts-first-nurse-practitioner/
Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC, https://www.nnpbc.com/
Thank you to Central Saanich staff for all your hard work in 2021. Between the heatwave,
floods and pandemic waves you have been there for our community.
We appreciate you!
Cllr Zeb King
We bought our place in 2009
It was an uninviting yard that was simply overgrown and mostly all grass.