Friday May 26, 2023 | VIEW ROYAL, BC [Updated 4 pm]
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
Today Mitzi Dean, MLA (Esquimalt-Metchosin) connected with constituents and members of the business community in View Royal.
She hosted a two-hour drop-in meet-and-greet at A Kinder Cup cafe in the Admirals Walk mall. About 40 people showed up over the two hours.
Previous coffee get-togethers have been held by Dean in Esquimalt. Metchosin and Colwood.
Today people asked Mitzi Dean, MLA about child care, health care, and the challenges of the local economy.
Dean told people today that BC has invested in 22,000 new child care spaces and that work force investment continues including an increase in the number of training seats. There’s also been a $4-per-hour wage enhancement for early childhood educators (ECE’s) to help with ECE sector retention. The new spaces fund is available for operators to apply for government support to create spaces. People in the community who have babies and toddlers may inquire as to the availability of child care spaces.
On the health care side of things, MLA Dean met with the Mayor of Colwood and a couple of local doctors, learning more about health care needs in the west shore and passing along that information to the Ministry of Health in order that Colwood might maximize whatever provincial strategies are available.
Dean says that availability of office space for doctors and clinics is not the issue, but the cost of that. She hopes to continue seeing collaboration among municipalities, doctors and local community to think creatively together. “We all know this is a very important matter for this community (of the west shore),” Dean told Island Social Trends.
“I’m really passionate to make sure we have the services in our community,” said Mitzi Dean. She notes the West Shore Urgent Primary Care Centre (UPCC) on Goldstream Avenue and the UPCC in Esquimalt — both of those are team-based care (doctors, nurses and other practitioners).
“We also have the Community Health Centre in Colwood in partnership with Pacific Centre Family Services. They have attached thousands of high-need patients (to doctors) from across the west shore,” said Dean today with some level of pride. “We’ve got access to different types of services but it would be great if we could still have more doctors in the community,” she said.
The BC Doctor registry is taking names now, with the goal of matching people without a family doctor to one or more potential practitioners for their needs. Last month Health Minister Adrian Dix says seniors and people with chronic health needs will be prioritized for the first round of matching, and possibly those who’ve waited longer. Dix has suggested the rollout might start after July 1, 2023. Dean says she will let the west shore community know when all of that is rolling out.
Business in the west shore:
The five west shore mayors are meeting regularly and particularly collaborative right now, says Dean.
On June 8, Mitzi Dean will be the emcee for Vision West Shore, an event held every couple of years by the West Shore Chamber of Commerce at which the west shore mayors present their vision for their communities.
“This is a moment for us in the west shore now,” says Dean, noting the level of “local municipalities working really well together” as well as being somewhat more in confluence than usual with the local business community, the chamber, local elected officials and her provincial-level office.
Coming out of the pandemic, it’s a good time for visioning. She sees a growing sense of west shore identity as to people living, working and finding recreation in the west shore, a sense of place and belonging. “Previously people were commuting out to get child care or to go to work,” said Dean.
Connecting in the community:
These coffee meetings together with door-knocking around the community is about connecting with people in between elections, and after the pandemic period where community connection was by phone and Zoom.
People feel comfortable knowing they can speak directly with their MLA in the community, says Dean.
She feels people were in survival mode during the pandemic, but that things are easing up in that regard now.
Minister of Children and Family Development:
Mitzi Dean was first elected in 2017, and re-elected in 2020. She is presently the Minister for Children and Family Development in the David Eby BC NDP cabinet. When at the legislature, the work is all about that.
The current legislative session wrapped up May 11; the fall session starts in October 3.
Getting ready for 2024:
The next BC provincial election is presently set for just over a year from now, on October 19, 2024.
Electoral district boundaries are changing in BC; Vancouver Island will see several boundary changes, and an increase in the number of seats from 14 to 15.
There are presently two vacant MLA seats in the BC Legislative Assembly (one on Vancouver Island and the other in Vancouver) with by-elections likely coming up in June. Premier David Eby says the by-election date(s) will be announced shortly.
Mitzi will not see the Metchosin side of the riding among her constituency for the 2024 election, but will see Vic West added in the future Esquimalt-Colwood riding.
Mitzi Dean MLA out meeting west shore constituents (April 28, 2023)
Doctor roster action coming July 1 (April 26, 2023)
Three provincial electoral areas for west shore (April 18, 2023)
Jan 2023: Westshore MLA Mitzi Dean reflects on the year ahead (Jan 16, 2023)
Indigenous self-government in child and family services (Nov 3, 2022)
Mitzi Dean pleased about constituency accomplishments during the pandemic (Feb 20, 2022)
===== ABOUT ISLAND SOCIAL TRENDS:
Island Social Trends has been covering politics, business, education and communities through a socioeconomic lens since 2008 on south Vancouver Island (previously as West Shore Voice News, and before that both Sooke Voice News and MapleLine Magazine).
Island Social Trends posts news daily at islandsocialtrends.ca (2020-2023). A new bi-weekly print edition will launch in mid-July 2023, with the online news portal continuing robustly.
Mary P Brooke is the editor and publisher of Island Social Trends. Ms Brooke followed and wrote extensively about the COVID pandemic during 2020-2022, and continues to follow that topic as new developments arise. She has covered news of Sooke School District 62 (SD62) in-depth since 2014 and BC education more broadly for over 10 years. In the west shore she also reports on West Shore Parks and Recreation.
Ms Brooke now reports with the BC Legislative Press Gallery. She is actively covering the upcoming by-election in Langford-Juan de Fuca.. | BY-ELECTION ARCHIVE
Among other qualifications, Ms Brooke holds a health sciences B.Sc. (Foods & Nutrition), a university Certificate in Public Relations, and an industry certificate in digital marketing. She is building a FOOD RESILIENCE NEWS ARCHIVE.