Mayor meets with protest committee to discuss IH concerns

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
November 25th, 2010

 Castlegar Mayor Lawrence Chernoff met this morning with Dean MacKinnon, a representative of the Citizens for Access to Better Health Care Committee.

MacKinnon said the meeting was productive and positive, and not limited only to the current ultrasound issue creating tension between the Interior Health Authority (IH) and local residents.   “We’re looking at all kinds of dimensions – there are all kinds of things Castlegar needs, and we talked about various options for getting some of them,” MacKinnon said. “We met to make sure we’re on the same page and sharing information.”   Chernoff agreed, underlining the importance of communication between stakeholders.   “If IH had approached us before the decision was finalized (to move the ultrasound machine), none of this (the rallies and hard feelings) had to happen” Chernoff said. “Communication allows for alternatives instead of backing everyone into a corner.”   Chernoff said the subsequent mobilization of protest groups was perhaps a good thing for the community, bringing people together with a shared purpose, and directing focus on broader health-care-provision issues in Castlegar … but the lack of communication certainly didn’t serve IH well.   “I don’t think it would ever have gotten this far if we’d had some prior discussion,” he said.   As for the ultrasound issue, he said it has become a largely political concern, and one mayor and council are ready and willing to address.   “We’re prepared to carry the ball at this stage – that’s our job,” he said. “We need some answers.”   He said the rallies were an important step in the process of negotiating with IH, but that, “there are still hurdles to overcome, so it’s important we work together to get the best possible result for the community.”

Categories: HealthIssuesPolitics