While 2021 seems like it’s been going on for the past five years, 2022 could see some big changes for residents on the West Shore.
Two LifeLabs locations closed back in October due to staffing shortages, which have been a problem in the health-care industry as a whole. A spokesperson for the company said the plan was still to reopen the branches in the new year, and that details would be coming in the next few weeks.
Provincewide, 18.2 per cent of British Columbians don’t have a health-care provider, according to the most recent Statistics Canada data.
While that only puts B.C. third highest in the country, this means thousands of Islanders don’t have access to a regular physician. Roy and Rita Perren, 87 and 83 respectively, have been without a health-care provider since their doctor retired in January. The Perren’s are now able to get their prescription filled by phoning two different medical centres, but are still without a family doctor.
”The thought of us sitting in a walk in clinic for hours with our severe back pain was stressful, especially to then find out that there was not a doctor on duty to fill our prescription,” Rita said in an email.
“The stress was unbelievable for several months,” she added. “However I’m hopeful that we are settled with the help we are getting.”
Langford Coun. Matt Sahlstrom said one solution in the future could be a new health-care centre he’s proposed which would rent clinic space for doctors at lower rates than they’d normally pay.
“I was at my family doctor, and he was telling me how much he brings in a year and how much goes out — his rent to lease the clinic was outrageous, I couldn’t believe it when he told me. I know people that work in office jobs that make more than my doctor for a year and so people don’t want to work as general practitioners because of the money.”
Sahlstrom said he’d spoken with Langford Mayor Stew Young and hoped the idea would go to council sometime in the spring.
While the doctor shortage doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, there could be some change come municipal election time.
Metchosin Mayor John Ranns says he’s not planning on running again, and tipped Coun. Kyara Kahakauwila as his replacement — who said she was planning on running. All three of the mayors for View Royal, Highlands and Colwood are planning on running again, with Colwood Mayor Rob Martin saying he was looking forward to completing some big projects like the Royal BC Museum Archives and also getting out in the community and meeting more people, COVID-19 allowing.
“It’s been a bit of a disappointment not being able to get face-to-face time with people, so that’s a big part of the reason I’m running again,” he said.
The question of who will be sitting in the mayor’s chair come October in Langford remains a mystery. In an interview with Black Press Media, Young said he would confirm if he was running or not three months before the election.
“Change is difficult for a lot of people and Langford has been changing for the better for 30 years,” he said. “I wouldn’t take anything back that we’ve done.”
A big part of the change Langford has seen is development, which brings with it construction, and with that comes noise. Sahlstrom said he is planning to bring a bylaw forward that would restrict construction companies from working at night time and during civic holidays.
“Langford prides itself on being a family city, where people can enjoy their green space,” he said. “How can you enjoy your patio when someone is operating heavy machinery in the next lot to you. You can’t.”
Sahlstorm said the idea should be coming before council in the new year.