Page 4 Port Alberni’s centennial celebrations officially kick off this weekend.
Page 7 Raw log exports come under attack from steelworkers, politicians.
NEWS Every home ◆ Every Friday ◆ Every day online www.albernivalleynews.com
FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 2012
Vol. 6 No. 30
FAVOUR Care home operator fights to keep family atmosphere for her residents. Page 3 WAWMEESH G. HAMILTON/ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS
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Alberni Valley News Friday, March 30, 2012
◆ COVER STORY
Care home talks stall with VIHA Operator says need is higher for long-term care than contract allows for WAWMEESH G. HAMILTON ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS
Traffic bustles along the rain-slicked road along Eighth Avenue and Redford Street on a Tuesday afternoon. Inside the neatly kept olive green house on the corner, Nigel Bell, 65, sits at the kitchen table doing a crossword puzzle, occasionally peering outside while opera music from Cavalleria Rusticana plays in the background. Across the table from him, Cliff Moore, 66, softly shuffles his worn deck of cards with his weathered hands as he enjoys a game of crib with cook Denise Carter. Bell and Moore are two residents and clients of Returning the Favour, a private assisted care facility that owner Gina Marling has operated since 2008. The facility has room for 11 clients and has a staff of three. Currently there are five beds occupied: three of them are subsidized through a temporary contractual arrangement with the Vancouver Island Health Authority. But the contract between VIHA and the facility expired last year and negotiations for a new one haven’t been successful, Marling said. With the clock ticking down, a spokesperson from VIHA says if a new contract isn’t concluded soon they’re going to have to consider their
WAWMEESH G. HAMILTON/ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS
Returning the Favour owner and operator Gina Marling invested half a million dollars in renovating her facility and turning it into a home for seniors. Nigel Bell, 65, below, keeps sharp with a puzzle book.
options for the beds they subsidize at Returning the Favour. “This is people’s home, it’s home to them and that’s
so important to emphasize,” Marling said. “People don’t come here to end their lives, they come here to live.”
Marling purchased the facility in 2008 and invested half a million dollars into bringing the facility up to code and making it homey inside and out, she said. Clients either receive medication management or personal care, and there is a staff member on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Marling started her own facility after working in complex and seniors care, she said. Her home is spacious enough to comfortably accommodate clients even when at capacity, Marling said. She used the words ‘family’ and ‘home’ to describe the quality of life the facility offers. “We don’t let people wait in line to eat, we eat as a family,”
she said. “This is a comfortable home, not an institution.” The facility already had a temporary contract with VIHA when Marling bought it. But the agreement has remained a temporary one. VIHA offered
‘We don’t let people wait in line to eat, we eat as a family. This is a comfortable home, not an institution.’ – Gina Marling Marling a new contract but she doesn’t feel the terms are acceptable so she hasn’t signed it yet. According to Marling, the contract doesn’t commit to refilling subsidized beds once clients are no longer at the facility. It also doesn’t
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increase the number of subsidized beds. “I signed the original contract based on the need in the community but the new one won’t commit to refilling subsidized beds, and residents can be removed for any reason that VIHA sees fit. “It doesn’t honour the original contract so why would I sign it,” Marling said. As well, in order to receive a consistent longer contract she would have to compete with other bidders to perform the service she already has for four years. Marling said she’s raised concerns about the quality of care for subsidized clients, who are tended to by VIHA staff and not her own. She raised her concerns with Alberni-Pacific Rim MLA Scott Fraser and more recently with Port Alberni city councillor Cindy Solda, a longtime
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health advocate. A verbal agreement was struck about a new contract but hasn’t been followed up on, Marling said. Subsequently, VIHA raised the rate that one subsidized client pays, from 70 per cent of his income to 80 per cent, to stay at the facility.
Another client is having their cognitive ability assessed and may have to move depending on the results. VIHA also withheld payment to the facility for three months and resumed only after advocacy by Fraser. And Home and Community Care officials, whose assessment of clients is required before they can occupy a subsidized bed, stopped referring people to the facility. “It’s like they have a vendetta but it’s not about me, it’s about the residents, their care and where they want to be,” Marling said. “When did residents’ rights about what they want stop being valued?” VIHA does have a temporary contract with Returning the Favour which expired in March 2011, said Norm Peters, VIHA director for contract services. VIHA has been trying to negotiate a new arrangement with the facility. “But we haven’t been able to successfully conclude negotiations for a new agreement,” Peters said. Returning the Favour has had a new contract in its hands waiting to be signed since January, he said. VIHA’s temporary contract with the facility applies for one to two years. A needs assessment is carried out before it is renewed. “It’s been renewed once and we’re trying to renew it again,” Peters said. Continued / 6
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Friday, March 30, 2011 Alberni Valley News
City to meet with Catalyst Port Alberni city council has organized a public meeting with Catalyst Paper CEO Kevin J. Clarke for Thursday, April 5, at 2 p.m. in council
chambers on Argyle Street. Catalyst applied for creditor protection earlier this year and on April 23 creditors are going to vote on
the restructuring plan. Clarke has indicated that if the plan is not accepted, the company could be sold despite new union agreements.
RCMP hosts July youth camp RCMP: | Local police detachment introduces RCMP camp for youth. WAWMEESH G. HAMILTON ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS
Youths in Grade 11 and 12 who are thinking about joining the RCMP have a chance to experience the next to best thing at a special camp coming to Port Alberni this summer, RCMP Sgt. Brian Murray said. The camp will be held from July 2â€“5 in Port Alberni and is open to open to 12 youthsâ€”six males and six femalesâ€”in Grades 11 and 12. Camps are held in other B.C. communities where troops are bigger. â€œBut they have more resources to draw from,â€? Murray said. Candidates will be screened for suitability just like in the RCMP, Murray said. The students will live together at a local facility and will undergo training similar to that at the RCMP
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WAWMEESH G. HAMILTON/ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS
Port Alberni RCMP Const. Shelly Schedewitz, school resource officer, promotes a youth camp debuting in the Alberni Valley in July.
depot in Regina, Sask. Students will also be exposed to the types of work done by different sections of the RCMP, Murray said. The RCMP is underwriting the tab for the project this year out of the
community policing budget, and students will be provided with meals and clothing, Murray said. If the program is successful, there is the possibility that it could be turned into a credit course at Alberni District
Secondary School, he added. Application packages will be available starting April 1 at School District 70 career centres as well as the RCMP office on Morton Street.
Centennial celebrations kick off SUSAN QUINN ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS
One hundred years ago, the first official meeting of Port Alberni city council took place. This Sunday, April 1 city residents are invited to come and help the city commemorate that historic event at Alberni District Secondary School. Outdoor activities start at 12:30 p.m. and the ADSS lobby will open at that time. Events include vintage cars on display, horse and buggy rides, hay rides, First Nations carving demonstrations and a 1912 photo display. At 1:30 p.m. doors to the auditorium will open for seating, for those who have tickets. The official event begins at 2 p.m. with a documentary video Big Trees, Big Water: A City is Born; the Port Alberni centennial poem, presented by Wendy Morton; greetings from all
SUSAN QUINN/ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS
Alberni Valley Museum curator Kirsten Smith examines the fine petticoats of a 1912 garment that will be part of Twin Cities Turn 100, a new exhibit at the museum.
levels of government; a centennial proclamation; First Nations welcome, singing by Timbre Choir and dancing by Pat Cummings School of Dance. The event will conclude at
approximately 3:30 p.m. when refreshments will be served. The weekend also signals the opening of Twin Cities Turn 100, the Alberni Valley Museumâ€™s new exhibit. The museum
will be open on Sunday from 12â€“5 p.m. for people to come and view the exhibit after the kickoff celebrations at the high school. Twin Cities Turn 100 focuses on the buildup to 1912 and through incorporation, curator Kirsten Smith said. The exhibit examines the coming of the railway and influx of people to the region: who was coming, how were they getting here? The cityâ€™s â€˜building blocksâ€™ at the time were the school, the fire department, water service, electricity and communications. â€œAll those little bits and pieces that make a city,â€? she said. The exhibit will include many childfriendly components, such as a passport stamp series, Lincoln Log building area, paper dolls and a dress-up area. Large black and white photographs are featured on the walls. Continued / 6
Alberni Valley News Friday, March 30, 2012
E TOP H T
SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR YOUR WEEK AHEAD
e v i F
City Bear Smart status WAWMEESH G. HAMILTON ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS
RCMP Camp Are you a student who is in Grade 11 or12 and are thinking about joining the RCMP. Applications are being taken for the three-day RCMP Youth Camp, which gives candidates a taste of RCMP basic training. The camp is this summer, and applications can be picked up at SD 70 career centres and at the RCMP station.
Summer camp? The RCMP has one for you.
Ok, so you know the name and who it belongs to. But when he was in movies did you know he had a stunt double named Peter Kent? Meet Mr. Kent on Saturday, March 31 at the Port Alberni Friendship Centre, 3554 Fourth Ave. The event is from 9-12 p.m. and everyone is welcome.
Check out the city’s centennial celebration kickoff. The event is at the ADSS Auditorium on Sunday, April 1, and is from 12:30-4 p.m. The afternoon features vintage car and horse and buggy rides, as well as an aboriginal carving demo. Watch the Big Trees Big Water; A City is Born documentary in the afternoon and more.
It turns out that the city is smarter than the average bear. Officials from Bear Smart B.C. are applying for provincial Bear Smart status for the City of Port Alberni. The city’s bear hazard assessment, bear smart management plan and implementation of bear resistant garbage containers are indicators that Alberni has reached a benchmark level of proactive management of human-bear conflicts, said Bear Smart
‘The complaints are down because of the steps being taken.’ – Ben York
executive director Crystal McMillan. The designation is akin to a blessing by the provincial government, but there are collateral benefits, McMillan said. The city will garner provincial and international recognition, as well as promotion by Tourism B.C. as a Bear Smart community.
The application is a simple process and requires a meeting with Ministry of Environment officials to review it. The goal of the program, McMillan said, is to diminish the rate of humanbear conflicts, reduce the number of bears killed and increase public safety. Coun. Cindy Solda said that it seems like bears have been seen less and asked about local bear stats. “The complaints are down because of all the steps that have been taken, there is no doubt in my mind,” conservation officer Ben York said.
Do you like supporting good causes and good people? Then come out and support the Haahuupayak School loonie toonie fundraiser on Saturday, March 31. The auction is at the school, 6000 Santu Drive, and is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Flea Market tables available for $10.
Ah, Easter. Chocolate bunnies, chocolate eggs, chocolate chocolate. Come and check out the Bunny Tail Hunt. The event is on Saturday, March 31, and is at Coombs Country Candy on the Alberni Highway. Start time is 11 a.m. Games, crafts, pony ride....
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From / 3 According to health authority policy a request for proposals would have to be issued in order to enter into a permanent contract, Peters said. The process and contract terms are standard and apply to other health care providers such as Rainbow Gardens, Echo Village and Fir Park Village. â€œWe had our policy and legal sections review it and they say itâ€™s consistent with other arrangements we have,â€? Peters said. VIHA has tried to have meetings with Marling but the efforts to do so havenâ€™t been successful, Peters said. â€œI donâ€™t know why she doesnâ€™t want to meet,â€? Peters said. â€œSheâ€™s sent us e-mails saying she doesnâ€™t like the contract but hasnâ€™t provided any specifics as to why,â€? Peters said. The situation with the facility is
unique and hasnâ€™t been encountered before, Peters said. Nevertheless, operating without a contract canâ€™t continue and movement will have to be made one way or the other soon. â€œWeâ€™re getting near a point where we have to consider our options and make a decision,â€? Peters said. â€œBut we havenâ€™t gotten to that final place yet.â€? The situation is disconcerting and needs to be resolved, Alberni-Pacific Rim MLA Scott Fraser said. Fraser said he met recently with families, clients and staff at the facility. â€œYou know, thatâ€™s a peopleâ€™s home and some of those people are fearful that theyâ€™ll be moved out,â€? he said. Thereâ€™s a wait list for people to get into facilities such as Returning the Favour yet VIHA wonâ€™t increase the number of subsidized beds. People who need
that type of care but canâ€™t find a place are looking to West Coast General Hospital instead, a move that redirects the hospitalâ€™s limited resources and creates waits in other areas. â€œTheyâ€™re doing a disservice to seniors but theyâ€™re also creating a ripple effect that is impacting health care,â€? Fraser said. Fraser said he met with VIHA officials to try and advocate for the facility but that the relationship between the facility and VIHA has deteriorated since. Fraser has tried to address the issue with Abbotsford West MLA Mike de Jong, the health minister, but has thus far received no response, Fraser said. â€œMy fear is that at some point these people who are thriving in this setting will be moved,â€? he said. â€œTheyâ€™re on borrowed time there.â€?
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