For Mayor Dale Bumstead the real highlight of 2018 was the Dawson Creek and District Hospital getting the green light from the provincial government.
“For them to come in and announce that they’re moving ahead with that new hospital redevelopment plan for our community and region was a huge issue — I don’t know how long we’ve been working on that. It’s hard for any one to beat that for me,” he says.
“When you build community, and I think about this, quality of life is built on health and happiness. And health care is such a critical component of that. For us to build a community, we need to have good quality health care.”
Keeping in the theme of health and happiness, he lists the groundwork laid for the South Peace Health Society to serve South Peace communities including DC, Pouce, Chetwynd, Tumbler Ridge, and the rural areas.
“We’ve finally got that in place, we’re moving that forward. We’re going to purchase a home down by the hospital that will provide patient accomodation for people that are coming in to Dawson Creek from Tumbler Ridge or Chetwynd or Saulteau First Nations,” he explains.
“To have accomodation available for those people when they’re coming to Dawson Creek for health services and have a home to stay in versus a hotel. I’m really, really pleased about that. I think that’s going to be a very positive piece for us in our healthcare system.”
Perhaps more in the happiness category, and perhaps economic health, the five year agreement with Hockey Canada was another one Bumstead looks back on fondly, having already bared fruits, with DC having hosted the Women’s National Team Training Camp in September and having recently announced that we will host the World Junior A Championship this December.
“All of those things are more diversification of the economic drivers of our community, because the World Junior A Challenge as an example is probably going to need 4-500 hotel rooms, and that’s going to fill up our community and bring great economic spend into the community, the hotels, the restaurants, the local businesses,” he explains. “All of that stuff spins money into your community and creates jobs, and creates economic opportunities for our residents.”
The LNG Canada announcement in October was a hit with Bumstead.
“To see LNG Canada and their partners make an announcement that they’re going to move forward with that project is a very big deal for us. Not only for today, but in the long term for our community and region.”
One of the big topics during city council meetings, and during the workdays of staff at City Hall, was the legalization of recreational cannabis.
“All of the work that went on in that to build the legalization of that and prepare for that. The staff at city hall did a great job of getting us prepared for understanding what we would need for zoning bylaws and all of the aspects of the legalization of it. Now we’re seeing the applications come forward for businesses looking to set up dispensaries in Dawson Creek,” he says. “That was a big bit of work in 2018 for our staff and council.”
An issue that really came into focus, and is still looming large is the Southern Mountain Caribou conservation, and the lack of engagement from the provincial government.
“That’s gaining a lot of attention and momentum,” he says. “It’s created a whole bunch of angst and uncertainty in the eyes and minds of people who are backcountry users, tourism, industry, mining, forestry, energy, agriculture — all of the people who are needing to have access to the backcountry for resources may be impacted by that.
“That’s a big, big issue and we’re certainly concerned about that.”