Editorial: Healthy living in Tumbler Ridge

Trent Ernst, Editor


This week, the Healthcare Roadshow rolls into town, with a couple dozen doctors in tow, to show them the lifestyle and opportunities  offered here in Tumbler Ridge.

As part of that, they’ll be exploring the area, visiting Kinuseo Falls as well as the museum, getting the grand tour from members of Council as well as members of the healthcare staff in town.

Twenty years ago, taking a job in a place like Tumbler Ride was considered the bottom rung on the health care ladder. Sure, you’d work here, but only until a job opened up in Dawson Creek, where you’d work until you could transfer to Prince George, and slowly moving to slightly bigger cities until you could work down in the Lower Mainland.

It was the doc walk, a way to become established, to work yourself up in the world.

While this is still the case for many people, it is not the case for all. As many of our current health care staff show, sometimes the small, rural practice is the more desirable destination.

Indeed, the wealth of knowledge and experience in our local clinic, held by just a handful of people, is phenomenal. These are people who are not just committed to the job, but committed to the town, to the lifestyle.

For the students, it is not only the chance to meet the local healthcare professionals and see what its like to practice in a northern clinic, but to show off the town, to present the benefits of being a small town doctor in Northern BC.

For Tumbler Ridge, it’s a chance to put our best foot forward to impress these young professionals.

Some of these students will be more attracted to Fort St. John and/or Dawson Creek. While they lack the outdoor beauty of here, there are other things to recommend these places. Shopping, for one.

And you know what? That’s okay. The perfect doctor for Tumbler Ridge is not someone who will chafe at the lack of shopping, who will sigh and think to themselves if there was only a first run movie theatre here.

No, the perfect doctor for Tumbler Ridge is someone who is passionate about small town medicine. Who hates the faceless procession of person after person of a city, who loves the idea of being able to connect on both a personal and professional level with the people of this town.

The perfect doctor is someone who will get involved in this community, who sees Tumbler Ridge as a perfect place to raise a family, as a place where they can make an impact on this community far larger than simply ‘turn your head and cough.’ Someone who is not jaded and cynical, but eager to get involved and leave their fingerprints on a new community. Someone willing to set down roots, to become a part of the structure and infrastructure of Tumbler Ridge. Of course, we’ve already got one of these doctors. Charles Helm’s commitment to this community is breathtaking, and it might be presumptuous hoping that lightning will strike twice. But here’s the thing: many doctors are into things like healthy living and enjoying the outdoors and community care and all the things that Tumbler Ridge is famous for.

As these potential doctors visit this area, we don’t want to misrepresent ourselves and sell ourselves as something we’re not, but we do want to present ourselves as an ideal place for the sort of person who is more interested in climbing mountains than climbing ladders, the sort of person who enjoys casting a line rather than standing in one.