After more than five years without one Williams Lake has a new full-time pediatrician.
Monica McKay and her family moved to Williams Lake from Johannesburg, South Africa at the end of May.
After getting settled she started seeing patients June 11.
Her husband Douglas is a business analyst and they have a daughter, Ivy, who is eight-years-old.
Last year McKay says she and her family visited several places in Canada including Penticton and Nelson in B.C. and Newfoundland before deciding to accept the position in Williams Lake.
“One of our main aims was to go from city living to a small town,” McKay says.
“We wanted out of the rat race and we like the outdoors and outdoor recreation.”
She says the doctors and community here were also very welcoming which sealed their decision to settle in Williams Lake.
She is a private physician who will work with Interior Health and is working out of the Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre where she will have a brand new office once current renovation project is completed. Meanwhile she is making due with available space.
“I think she will be fabulous for us,” says Child Development Centre executive director Nancy Gale.
She says McKay arrived in time for her to incorporate some special requests into the design of her office and examination space.
Alison Rualt, administrator for acute care services with Interior Health, was part of the recruiting team which she says included representatives from the health care professions, education, and community leaders who came together to welcome McKay when she visited the lakecity to see about the job here.
“We’re pretty pleased she is here,” Rualt says. “The community really came together to present itself well and the benefits of living in Williams Lake.”
Gale says Williams Lake hasn’t had a full-time pediatrician since Dr. Jan Riegl retired about five years ago. Since then a pediatrician from Prince George has been visiting the community once a month and will continue to do so.
She says Dr. Jeff Piemer from Cariboo Memorial Hospital also visits the CDC to work with children and youth.
Gale says the CDC employs two physiotherapists, three occupational therapists and one speech language pathologist, who have offices and clinic facilities at the CDC’s main centre on Second Avenue.
The CDC is in the middle of a $600,000 renovation project that will see the renovation of existing space to create a new waiting room and reception area, two more offices, and a 6,000 square-foot addition for storage, meeting rooms and offices, bringing the facility to a total of almost 20,000 square feet of resource space.
The CDC has operated continuously in Williams Lake since 1975 providing assessment, treatment, education and assistance to vulnerable children and children with special needs and their families.