Anyone thinking about a move to the Lower Mainland as a remedy for medical service ailments may be surprised to learn that, in some respects, things are worse there than they are here.
That was the qualified message put forward by Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore — who along with his counterparts from Port Moody and Coquitlam — recently toured the Peace Region.
“In the three communities that we’re from in the Tri-Cities of Metro Vancouver, we have the lowest, or worst, doctor per capita in the province,” Moore said in a recent interview.
“The difference though is I don’t have to go to a doctor in Port Coquitlam. I can go to a doctor in Burnaby or Vancouver. There’s walk-in clinics, there’s a lot more hospitals around.
“Whereas in a place, whether you’re in Dawson Creek or in Fort St. John, you can’t go drive to Prince George to go to a walk-in clinic or something else,” Moore said.
“The ratios might not be a great example because of the rural aspect of these communities. But, I think the underlying point is we, across the province, don’t have enough health care practitioners.”
He went on to note the similarities in the challenges facing local governments, whether rural or urban, go far beyond health care.
“In Fort St. John, they are telling us they don’t have their full complement for the RCMP. It’s the same thing in Port Coquitlam. We’re understaffed,” said Moore.
“As well as infrastructure. The federal government comes out with infrastructure funding, but, it’s not enough to meet the needs of growing communities like Fort St. John.
“And our three communities are also growing. We grow by about 38,000 people a year. We have a lot of growth pressures similar to Fort St. John and Dawson Creek that are also growing at a quite rapid pace.” Moore said.
That noted, Mr. Moore encouraged more municipal leaders to get outside their jurisdictions to other parts of the province for a better understanding of the civic government challenges and opportunities.