Recent History – 2003
November 4, 2003 — Gary Rusak, Daily News Staff
A letter of support from the City of Dawson Creek to the Peace River Haven Gatekeepers Society is forthcoming after a delegation attended city council on Monday to ask for their backing.
“Every day you walk outside this building you hear another rumour about what is happening,” said Paul De Costa, chair of the Gatekeepers. “We definitely need your help. We would like to show the Northern Health Authority that we are credible people.”
The main issue revolves around the cloudy future of the Peace River Haven long-term health facility in Pouce Coupe. The NHA has mandated that the home’s capacity be decreased. The facility will be making layoffs in accordance with its decreased capacity. This downsizing has left many citizens wondering what facilities remain for seniors. A meeting in September brought more than 350 concerned citizens to the Elk’s Hall to discuss the issue.
The Gatekeepers have been asking the Northern Health Authority for more information about the future of the facility. Just last week a conference call between Gatekeeper Chair Paul De Costa, Mayor Wayne Dahlen, South Peace MLA Blair Lekstrom, and Northern Health Authority CEO Malcolm Maxwell was set up to try and open the lines of communication between the interested parties.
“One of the major issues we discussed was the lack of communication between the NHA and us,” said De Costa. “We did get an agreement from Malcolm Maxwell that a meeting will take place before the end of the year,” he said adding that when a final assessment of the facility is finished it will be made available to the citizen’s group. The Gatekeepers are also seeking consideration of the sale of the facility to the society.
Following in step with the Peace River Regional District, city council unanimously agreed to draft a letter of support for the organization.
“I am fully behind what you are doing,” Councillor Bud Powell told De Costa during the council meeting on Monday. “I recently lost my dad and for the last three or four months he lived in the Peace River Haven. I don’t know what we would have done without it.”
Mayor Wayne Dahlen also offered his personal support to the group and said the conference call earlier in the week had been constructive.
“It was helpful and positive step,” he said. “We have never been in support of the closing of the Haven. It affects all of us in the region and as the population ages we will need the use of facilities like that one.”