Mike Youds

11th hour deal keeps Ucluelet clinic open

Island Health has reached agreement with Ucluelet Medical Clinic, assuming the lease to head off closure at month’s end and ensuring another 3,000 patients do not lose family doctors.

The move ends months of uncertainty for Ucluelet residents as well as for 1,500 others in outlying coastal communities such as Hitacu and Macoah who rely on the sole clinic in the village. They can consider themselves fortunate in a province where roughly 900,000 residents are not connected to a general physician and primary health care.

‘A noble profession’: Front-line fatigue taxes nurses, but workers remain embedded in communities

Nurses highly trained to assist others in crisis suddenly found themselves helping fellow nurses on the dock in Tofino one afternoon last fall.

Skipper Chris Frank was returning to Tofino with passengers from Ahousaht when a floatplane attempting to land suddenly collided with the Rocky Pass.

“We got word that nurses were supposed to be on that boat,” recalled Catherine Gislason, acting nursing manager at NTC.

“The boat had two of our nurses aboard,” she added. “They were both hurt. Both had soft-tissue damage and head injuries.”

Kidney screening resumes after pandemic delay

Community-based kidney health assessments resume in early May, an early-detection strategy against a disease twice as likely to affect Indigenous people.

The screening is part of a preventive health initiative that began two years ago before it was interrupted by the COVID pandemic and travel restrictions.

Matilda Atleo, community health promotion worker for Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC), said three screening sessions are planned so far: May 2 at Port Alberni Friendship Centre, May 3 in Anacla-Bamfield and May 5 at Hupacasath First Nation.

‘Close this science gap,’ say Huu-ay-aht, citing more old growth than previously claimed

Huu-ay-aht First Nations have a relatively small territory, yet they hold big ambitions in forestry.

Notched out of the Island’s west coast, Huu-ay-aht-owned land spans 8,200 hectares of the Sarita River watershed along Barkley Sound’s south shore while the nations hold additional rights in their larger ḥahuułi, including Tree Farm Licence 44.

A long and winding path towards protecting old forests

B.C. has to bridge deep divisions before it can put healthy ecosystems and biodiversity ahead of timber supply, says a co-author of the province’s Old Growth Strategic Review.

“This sector has been rife with conflict for a very long time and there’s a lot of scared people out there,” said Garry Merkel, a registered forester and member of Tahltan First Nation. “Everybody is afraid for different reasons. We see each other as enemies and it causes deeply rooted behaviour that stops us from coming together and solving this collectively.”

Fisheries minister speaks frankly about fish farm mandate

Federal Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray has signalled clear intent to follow through on Ottawa’s commitment to remove open net pen salmon farms when a slew of licences expires in June.

“The objective is a strong aquaculture economy on the coast of B.C., but the protection of wild salmon is imperative,” Murray said last week while releasing What We Heard, public input on the Liberal government’s Blue Economy Strategy.

Huu-ay-aht join carbon-cutting initiative

Temperate forests in B.C., long a carbon sink and buffer against global warming, have become net carbon sources and now contribute to accelerated climate change in the 21st century.

Through computer modelling, the province’s greenhouse gas inventory shows forests in the province have begun producing more carbon than they take in, an alarming reversal over the last 20 years caused in part by worsening wildfires and mountain pine beetle devastation.

Sara’s Garden yields ‘golden ticket’ for Tsaxana

Tsaxana’s “gathering garden” is growing a lot more than vegetables as it enters a third season.

Also known as Sara’s Garden, the community resource represents an old idea given fresh impetus during the pandemic, a means of building greater food security and self-sufficiency for the Mowachaht/Muchalaht community.

“Definitely momentum continues to build as the garden continues to grow,” said Kristi Walker, wellness co-ordinator for MMFN.

Watershed protections lack teeth, watchdog says

The public has until mid-March to weigh in on a B.C. government watershed security strategy in the face of more severe environmental impacts, and a public interest watchdog wasted no time jumping in last week.

Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister George Heyman released a discussion paper outlining the watershed security strategy Jan. 25 with emphasis on Indigenous engagement and reconciliation.

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