Opposition critic for seniors visits Williams Lake

Opposition critic for seniors toured Williams Lake Wednesday to hear local concerns.

It has been almost three years since Kootenay West NDP MLA Katrine Conroy visited Williams Lake. So when she visited the community on Wednesday she said it was rewarding to see Deni House open again.

“I was the seniors critic when Deni House was shut down,” Conroy said in her visit with the Tribune during a stop in Williams Lake last week.

“We raised it in the legislature and knew how passionate people in the area were about the facility.

“It was so good to be in the facility today, see it operating and see that it’s obviously made a difference.”

While in the lakecity, Conroy met with locals in her capacity as Official Opposition Critic for Seniors and Long-term Care.

“There were some people from the Seniors Advisory Council and some people just interested in coming out and talking about their issues, a retired doctor, younger seniors, a nice mix of people.”

Conroy heard concerns about accessibility of services and home support.

There was fairly lengthy discussion about access to services in Kamloops versus Prince George.

“I heard that they prefer to go to Prince George but because you’re in the Interior Health Authority, Kamloops is your hospital.”

One person told Conroy he was able to go to Prince George and back in one day to see a specialist, rather than expending three days to see a specialist in Kelowna.

“I can understand why people are expressing frustrations. It’s something that needs to be raised with IH.”

In the region to hear concerns from residents, Conroy said the NDP will not roll out its health care platform until after they see the budget.

The party is working on it and will finalize it then.

“We can’t promise the moon if there’s not the money to do it. We will have to be very practical about what we’re offering. It kills me though because there are so many needs in this province with health care issues and needs for seniors.”

Ideally, she’d like the NDP to have a plan in place that acknowledges that all needs cannot be met immediately, with the intention of trying to tackle them one by one.

“I worry about what the budget is going to be. We know what we were told last time, that there was going to be a very small deficit, and there was no talk of the HST. Suddenly we had this massive deficit and the HST so I’m a little suspect,” Conroy said.

Conroy also met with representatives of the Cariboo Friendship Centre, toured Sunset Manor, and met with Mayor Kerry Cook while in the city.