2019 had its ups and downs according to Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett.
Among the positives, Barnett said there were no fires and noted the reinstatement of the ferry service from Bella Coola to Port Hardy and the announcement of the Cariboo Memorial Hospital redevelopment project.
“We got the highway finished at the reserve at the Williams Lake Indian Band and we got the highway on the other side finished which were projects started in 2017 and the other four-five years ago. A lot of our athletes have done well, our people in the education system have done very well, so there have been a lot of positive things,” Barnett added.
“The sad part about the reality of this is our forest industry is in dire straights and it doesn’t seem that it’s a high priority of our governments whether it’s federal or provincial.”
Barnett said the softwood lumber agreement should be a major priority and that there should also be transparency on what is happening in the land base.
“There are many land-use plans and caribou plans with absolutely no transparency and we need that transparency,” Barnett said.
“We are working on reconciliation which is great. We all want to get there but it has to be transparent and the government, of course, has shown no transparency whatsoever to all the communities, and if we’re going to be happy and work together as we wanted and as we have for years we need total transparency.”
Barnett added that the closing of the Mt. Polley mine has not helped the economy and that our agriculture has got more rules and regulations with the cost of doing business soaring.
“There are many issues out here and I only hope that in 2020 government opens up and becomes transparent and works with their MLAs within their regions because we’re the boots on the ground,” Barnett said.
“I wish everybody a Happy New Year, wish them well and hope that the government decides to really get down to work and change some policies. Let’s deal with people who all they want to do is go to work and feed their families and get this province back on the right track.”