Meet the Mayor
May 28, 2014
Two weeks ago I wrote about Chetwynd’s need to have an effective medical practitioner recruitment plan that includes the prospect of an attractive and physically adequate clinic in which to serve our growing need for medical care and attention.
I’m sure you know as well as I do that his challenge is not unique to Chetwynd. It is nation-wide in the smaller communities and, if you happen to be a member of my generation, size of community is irrelevant. Don’t let your personal physician retire or move away while you still depend on her services. Our own home-town challenge is to create an environment in Chetwynd that will attract at least a second look and give us a chance to showcase our highly attractive community.
Of course, the clinic, while a vital part, is only one part of the environment to which we recruit, as we who live here certainly know. Like the rest of us, doctors are human and some of them assimilate easier than others. Every physician moving to Chetwynd will need to develop a life outside the clinic and the hospital if we hope to retain him beyond a couple of years. We also have a part to play in this.
Council has been debating for several years its legitimate roles in attracting and retaining physicians (yes, we’ve even generated some action with results). Happily, there are differences of perspective, as there should be in a healthy discussion. At the end of the discussion, however, we will have only two options: act or don’t act, do what we have to do or do nothing – which really, is to act.
Council has sent two ambassadors to the Rural Emergency Continuum of Care Conference in Penticton. They are there as you read, waving the Chetwynd flag and promoting the advantages of life in Chetwynd. This Conference is the meeting place for mostly young physicians looking for a home and our intent is to introduce Chetwynd to as many of them as is physically possible in the two days of the Conference.
Of course it cost several thousands of your tax dollars to send our emissaries! Just as ignorance ultimately is more expensive than education, to not attend, to not promote Chetwynd, to not boast about the life we enjoy here, to not speak of the advantages of choosing Chetwynd, in the longer term, could cost more than to attend.
By now you might have detected some of my own biases regarding recruitment, retention, and the role of the District in providing a suitable work space when private industry does not come forward. I have no hesitation in saying that I support the District’s taking an active role in creating this suitable medical-health centre. Naturally, I would want to be certain the residents are supportive.
A community is only the richer and more beautiful that values and supports attractive and functional facilities. Ultimately, the decision will be yours to have or not to have.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor