With Tumbler Ridge?s future looking bright and an election coming up in May, Blair Lekstrom took this opportunity to speak to the residents of TR about what has been happening in the province and his constituency during his time in office. Over 50 people were in attendance to hear Lekstrom speak.
Lekstrom spoke about education and the advances that are being made in SD59 in the area of skilled labour. Students in grades 10-12 can now take courses which prepare them for the skilled labour job market. This program is being run in conjunction with Northern Lights College.
Health Care is always a concern and Lekstrom pointed out that there is a competitive environment to attract doctors and nurses to BC. Currently doctors are being trained here in the north at the University of Northern British Columbia. Incentives are being offered to students who choose to stay and practice in small and remote communities in the north. Lekstrom also spoke about senior care and assisted living units.
In the area of the environment there has been an increase in the number of parks and the funding available for the parks. There have also been challenges in agriculture. With the BSE issue limiting cattle sales and the bad weather conditions last year, the province has kicked in to help struggling ranchers and farmers.
Lekstrom also spoke about Tumbler Ridge. When Tumbler Ridge faced the closing of the coal mines and sale of houses, it was staggering. Today we are seeing mining, oil and gas and tourism taking off in this area. There is a potential to ship close to 15 billion tonnes of coal a year out of this area compared to the 10-12 billion which was shipped in the coal production ?hay days? of Tumbler Ridge.
The dinosaur discoveries have opened doors of opportunity for Tumbler Ridge. With all Tumbler Ridge has going for it, Lekstrom sees a very positive economy for Tumbler Ridge?s future.
After Lekstrom?s presentation, the floor was opened for questions which covered topics from road construction to Co-op housing to BC Rail. Lekstrom answered the questions and those that he was unsure of he encouraged the people to call him and he would research to find the answers. ?I may not always agree with Lekstrom?s politics,? said an audience member, ?but he has always made himself available and he takes the time to find answers.? A mail out which covers the main issues will be sent out soon to residents in Lekstrom?s constituency.
When the presentation was over Lekstrom stayed to chat with people, and answer any further questions that they might have.