Setting the record straight

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett defended by seniors minister

To the editor:

I want to set the record straight regarding the Oct. 31 letter, headlined Barnett not getting the job done.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Our government has worked with Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett to make investments in 100 Mile House to help residents and seniors.

Our government announced $10 million in July 2011 to provide financial assistance of up to $200,000 a year for rural, fee-for-service physicians who commit to ensure reliable public access to emergency services is maintained at their local hospital. 100 Mile District General Hospital was included in this announcement.

In 2010, a $7.2-million addition was opened at Fischer Place/Mill Site Lodge with 14 new residential care beds as part of a 29-bed expansion. Funding was shared by our government, Interior Health and the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District, with funds raised by local residents to purchase equipment, including specialized wheelchairs.

Our government just announced $500,000 in additional funding for Age-friendly BC communities for 2013 to support seniors. This program offers local governments grants of up to $20,000 to create environments for seniors to be active and healthy. I encourage local governments to apply to UBCM for a grant.

As for Better at Home, this $15-million program is administered by the United Way of the Lower Mainland. The organization will use the funding provided by government to expand non-medical home support services in up to 60 communities across the province over the next three years. The first 18 sites were announced in November.

Residents can rest assured that government is committed to investing in communities and seniors throughout British Columbia, including 100 Mile House, and that Donna Barnett is very much getting the job done.

Ralph Sultan

Minister of State for Seniors