Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head and Leader of the BC Green Party, fielded questions from his constituents on Nov. 30 on a range of current issues including Site C, Kinder Morgan, fish farms, and the electoral reform referendum. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Shortages of Doctors and Housing, again top of mind to start 2019

The final part of our year end interviews with MLA Andrew Weaver centres on consituent issues

Looking ahead to 2019, Andrew Weaver has a lot on his plate.

The Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA says the biggest issue that his constituents write in about is the lack of doctors.

“It’s a big issue and issue and a growing issues as more and more doctors retire, and fewer and fewer take over,” Weaver said.

In a poll conducted by the Oak Bay News in November asking if readers had a family doctor, 58 per cent of respondents said no. Although a newspaper poll is not scientific, it does provide some substance to complaints about the shortage of family doctors in B.C.

Although there were boosts to expand pharmacare earlier in 2018, we did not see much concrete government action doctor shortages this year.

READ MORE: Following legislative process key to cross-party amendments: Andrew Weaver

“It can’t come soon enough to actually move towards the creation of new health-care centres,” Weaver said. “No. 2, I would say, is the issues of affordability. There are people who are concerned that their children can no longer live and work in the same city that they grew up in because of the affordability crisis. That’s very clearly an issue,” Weaver said.

RELATED: Victoria housing starts mostly rentals

There has been more government action on housing. Although vacancy rates in Greater Victoria have begun rise, rents also continue to climb. Moreover, housing policy is largely a municipal jurisdiction, dictated by bylaws and community consensus collection.

“In terms of others there’s smaller issues. There’s issues with respect to derelict vessels, there’s access to mental heath facilities. There’s concerns that have been brought to us about social services systems. On the day-to-day things that we see in the constituency, access to a family doctor, as well as the issues of affordability are right up at the top.”

READ MORE: It takes forever: Weaver on derelict boats

Provincially, 2018 saw lots of headlines on environmental policy, ride-hailing, and electoral reform. We interviewed Weaver before the results were announced – a resounding no – Dec. 20. At the time, he predicted a 52-48 yes win. This will make Weaver’s new years’ resolution all the more important.

“I never make them because you just make them to break them, but – my new years resolution is to do everything I can to show the people of Nanaimo that Green is the colour of the Nanaimo byelection in 2019.”



jesse.laufer@oakbaynews.com

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