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Mayor’s Report – April 29, 2015

Meet the Mayor

April 29, 2015


When I took this job, I assured my wife that there was nothing in the job that would keep me up in the night.  I was right – for three years. Oh, sure, there were challenges, but I slept like a tired baby.

December 2014: no, I hadn’t lied to my wife; a new element quietly had been introduced to the scene.

Christmas had just passed and the mice were beginning to stir when Doctor Tim told me he would be leaving Chetwynd in July and forfeiting his signing bonus. That was a solid body blow delivered by a real nice guy but it hurt just the same; oh well, a guy’s going to do what he’s got to do, and he did it – over lunch. That’s life in this uncertain world.

We had known for a year that the Doctors Schreve were planning to relocate in July.  We had been working for months to fill their shoes – not a lightly to-be-taken assignment – but this new development was news of the most unwelcome kind.

A Preliminary Health Services Review and Assessment for Chetwynd and Surrounding Area funded by Northern Health (NH) was delivered by the author, Brian Spooner, in January 2014. This report provided several recommendations, not all of which could be implemented. Among those implemented were the following:

  • Develop an appropriately sized primary care clinic.
  • Establish a joint NH-District of Chetwynd (Ch) Working Group to support recruitment and retention of health-care professionals.
  • Work with the local physicians to implement a more contemporary primary care service model.

An effective partnership among NH, Ch, and the physicians is essential to success in our endeavours with a long-term and sustainable outcome dependent on each partner’s making significant contributions toward the shared goals. I believe we have an effective partnership with each partner actively contributing.

In fact, NH, Ch, and the local doctors have been collaborating closely on these recommendations for at least the last sixteen months.

The working group meets frequently to update the partners on current issues in recruitment, construction, and development of the primary care service model. NH and the physicians are in frequent consultation regarding details of the business relationship between NH and the physicians. CH moved into new territory when Council decided to build the new primary care clinic – now ready to be occupied.

Typically, local government avoids involvement to this level in health care delivery. Times have changed and continue to change. We have to be willing to change with the needs presented. No longer can we be content to sit back and let someone else do the job. Health is a community issue. Council has found a role in supporting health care in a way that is acceptable to Council and hopefully (as we have seen with donations received for the new Clinic) with your support as well.

Thank you for your understanding as we continue to do the things that will create an environment attractive to doctors, nurses, and patients.


Merlin Nichols, Mayor