My parents moved to Williams Lake from Vancouver 64 years ago this spring.
My father was the new doctor for the village of 1,100 people.
Known as “a dusty cow town,” famous for its annual rodeo, it was also a very good place to live and raise a family.
Everyone knew each other, and there were not a lot of problems.
This is not the case now, as two major issues need to be addressed.
There is a lack of doctors to provide medical services, and many families, ours included, are without a physician. The second matter of concern is that Williams Lake, which has had very poor air quality since the 1960s, now has an application proposal by Atlantic Power Corp to burn 50 per cent creosoted rail ties at the cogeneration plant.
None of these situations are good, and yet there are solutions available. My father and his partner, JB Ringwood, a surgeon from Alberta who he met in the Second World War in England, worked very hard in the early days to provide care to a town with a rapidly growing population.
As a shareholder in the Yorston/Atwood clinic, I have appealed to the doctors who have retired in just the last two or three years to “un-retire” to provide medical care to residents who really need their help.
There are seven physicians from the clinic that could renew their licences, and others who practice out of the hospital. Doctors do agree to the Oath of Hippocrates, and some of them should give back to the community, if at all possible.
I am part of a group of “concerned citizens” who are opposed to the burning of creosoted railway ties in the co-gen plant.
These ties are highly toxic, and should be disposed of at a toxic waste treatment facility which exists in Swan Hills, Alta. Or, a facility could be built in B.C., centrally located in the province, in an area with a low population and good ventilation.
The Liberal Government has already been very good to CN Rail, selling them BC Rail (our most valuable utility) at a fraction of its worth, and in a very crooked deal that involved illegalities and high ranking cabinet ministers. CN Rail stands to save a lot of money by dumping their toxic ties in Williams Lake, and Atlantic Power will make a lot of money on the deal, getting free fuel for their plant as well as a “tipping fee”, which amounts to a bribe, to accept these ties. Meanwhile, logging debris is burned in cull piles in the bush.
This wood waste could be transported to town in large container bins on logging trucks, and sorted at the co-gen plant, with some of the wood being sold to the Pellet Plant. It is economically feasible to bring this wood in, and would create employment.
Jobs will not be lost if the ties are not burned here. Other communities have rejected applications to burn ties — Kamloops, Salmon Arm, and Kelowna, and for the same reasons. There are dioxins and furans which are carcinogenic, which will go into our air shed, which is already at 85 per cent capacity. Burning ties here would be a huge step backward. The Paris Agreement is supposed to mean something. WL is an industrial community, located in a valley bowl, that has air inversions in both winter and summer, and a lot of road dust.
These issues all have to do with the quality of life here, and need to be addressed.