You know the situation in the Province is not looking good when the stories that grace the local newspapers are about service and funding cuts in Health and Education. This time it’s Selkirk College and the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital in Trail, and that’s not even touching on the issues facing the local School District (SD 20). For Selkirk College, their future rests on providing regionally contextual courses that can tie into other local activities and needs, healthcare and forestry being two obvious ones, aviation being another – but funding for this regional college is tight, forcing administration to choose between staff, students and facilities, it looks like the students won out, but it is a short term victory without ongoing maintenance of the facilities.

At Selkirk, the allowance for upgrades and maintenance to facilities is expected to be slashed by 74 per cent, reducing it from $1.4 million to $368,000. “There are many routine things, like putting fresh paint on the wall, that just won’t happen this year,” explained Selkirk College president Marilyn Luscombe. The college is working internally to put aside contingency funds to use for emergency maintenance that may be needed through the year, though it hasn’t disclosed where that money will come from.

Selkirk budgets for cuts and for the latest (in a long line of issues) facing healthcare in the Kootenays, now it is operating capacity that is being cut…

“The standard of care in this region cannot afford any more cuts. There are significant costs associated with longer wait times for surgery. More people waiting longer for procedures will further burden an already overwhelmed system,” said Mungall. Conroy and Mungall are asking that the Minister meet with the hospital’s surgical team to listen and work with them to make sure that health care in the Kootenay – Boundary region is protected.

Boundary Sentinel: KBRH OP/ED All levels of government are torn between the priorities of those who lobby them. The two-faced PR campaign that we’ve seen over the past year, claiming economic stimulus on one hand, while making cuts from other areas of society, is something we’ve grown accustomed to, and during times of economic turmoil, (and make no doubt about it folks, we have not reached the other side of the river yet on that one!), the pull of money away from long term benefiting projects to ones of seeming immediate need will continue.

“Few of the [stimulus] projects are transformative,” said Joseph Schofer, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Northwestern University.

CityScapes – Chicago Tribune We should be aiming to position society into a clean energy descent, equipped with simplified systems and increased resilience in the vital areas of health, education, and civic infrastructure. Some of what we value now will show itself to be less than valuable in the cold hard light of a future with less carbon based fuel consumption.

Published by Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada.