March 2021 was a busy month for me on several different fronts. In my political life, there were some very high points during the month. In my personal life, there were also a few highs but the month ended on a rather low note for me. However, I continue to march forward and will cross those bridges when I get there.
A Full Slate Of Meetings
It was what I would call a “normal” month of meetings for me. Out of ten that were scheduled, one got canceled and another I missed due to a scheduling conflict. Here is a look at that list.
Town Council Meetings
Monday, March 1 - 7:30 PM - Regular Meeting of Town Council (Town Hall)
Monday, March 15 - 7:30 PM - Regular Meeting of Town Council (Town Hall)
Wednesday, March 24 - 9:30 AM - Special Meeting of Town Council (Town Hall)
Thursday, March 25 - 10:00 AM - Special Meeting of Town Council (Town Hall)
Other Regular Meetings
Tuesday, March 16 - 7:00 PM - Skills Centre Regular Board Meeting - Skills Centre (*)
Wednesday, March 17 - 5:30 PM - Princeton Arts Council - Zoom Meeting (*)
Thursday, March 18 - 5:30 PM - Princeton Museum Society - Zoom Meeting
Tuesday, March 9 - 3:00 PM - Signing of the MOU between Town of Princeton and Vermilion Forks Metis Association - Riverside Centre
(*) - denotes attendance at a meeting as the only member of Town Council
Some Details From The Town Council Meetings
During the March 1, 2021, Regular Meeting of Town Council, a presentation was made by Director of Economic Development, Gary Schatz on the “Value of Tourism to the Town of Princeton.” In it was data from a traffic study that was conducted in August 2020. Although it was during a COVID-19 restriction, it was determined that 2.25-million vehicles pass through Princeton annually. When the formula of 2 people per vehicle is used, that figure becomes 4.5-million travelers passing through the community. Based on the third-party travel website Budget Your Trip, the average daily cost to travel in BC is set at $152 per person which equates to each vehicle passing through Town as being worth $304 a day. If only one percent of those vehicles entered the downtown core or 22,500 vehicles, that would feed a potential $6.84-million into Princeton businesses. The numbers were equally staggering and encouraging.
During the March 15, 2021, Regular Meeting of Town Council, a lease between the Town of Princeton and the Interior Health Authority was approved. This paved the way for the establishment of the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic at Riverside Centre. The lease permits IHA to use both the theatre and stage spaces to administer the vaccines from March 15, 2021, to October 31, 2021, at a monthly rate of $7,453.33 + GST + additional fees.
The Special Meetings of Town Council on March 24 and 25, 2021 were Strategic Planning Meetings with details to be announced at a later time.
This was another good news/bad news month for me related to my ongoing health condition. I’ll start with the good. I began increasing the intensity of my exercise routine mid-month by adding short jogging intervals in my walks along the KVR. At first, it was quite honestly very painful. For those of you who do not know much about my history, I have “always” been a runner since high school and did some track and field activities finding mid to long-distance running to my liking. I have continued running off and on into my adult life. While living in Penticton in the early 1980s, I even entered several road races completing several 10k, 12k runs, and a mini-marathon race. Since moving to Princeton in 1986, I have been a part-time runner but have not pounded the pavement much in the past decade.
So, mid-month I started to incorporate light jogging into my routine. I count my strides in my intervals so I can keep them at the same approximate distance. I started with 200-stride intervals getting up to 8 of them into a session. Last week, I extended that to 300-stride intervals. Oh, and I now run up and down the stairs at Miners Climb. My times have reduced, but they will increase as my strength builds. Last week I did three trips up and down Miners Club where I ran all but the last 20-some stairs going in either direction. I haven’t changed my light weightlifting routine yet, and it is due for a slight tweak. Then last week I received some bad news. The urologist in Kelowna declined to perform the surgery on my kidney tumour. That puts us back on the VGH waiting list for the operation. As disappointing as that is - Kelowna would have been so easy for us - we are looking at this as a blessing in disguise. I could be waiting a year for this tumour to be removed, but thankfully it is growing slowly and that gives me more time to build my strength to shorten my recovery time.
Thank you to everyone for being supportive of my recovery from congestive heart failure and the complications I have along with that.
February was Heart Month. For me, this year, that was a big deal. I had great plans to mark it throughout the month and compose some interesting posts for social media showing how well I’ve been doing and keeping the theme of Heart Month front and centre. It started almost as I had planned it and I was getting a lot of traction out of the first few posts. Then Heart Month sort of turned on me. The details are below, but before I get to those, here is a quick look at my meeting schedule from February 2021.
Half Of My Meetings Were Missed
Due to a health issue, I ended up missing half of the meetings I had on my schedule for the month. Out of ten meetings, one was canceled and four I could not attend. This is a complete list of those events.
February 1 - 7:30 PM - Regular Meeting of Town Council, Town Hall
February 16 - 7:30 PM - Regular Meeting of Town Council, Town Hall (Attended via video conference)
February 25 - 3:00 PM - Special Meeting of Town Council, Town Hall
February 9 - 12 Noon - South Okanagan Similkameen Primary Care Network Planning Meeting (Zoom).
February 16 - 3:00 PM - Princeton Health Care Steering Committee - CANCELLED
February 17 - 9:30 AM - Okanagan Regional Library - DID NOT ATTEND
February 17 - 5:30 PM - Princeton Arts Council - DID NOT ATTEND
February 18 - 10:00 AM - Interagency - DID NOT ATTEND
February 18 - 5:30 PM - Princeton Museum Society - DID NOT ATTEND
February 23 - 7:00 PM - PXA AGM, PXA Indoor Arena (ran the Election of Officers for 2021 Executive)
Some Details From The Town Council Meetings
The biggest item on the agenda from the February 1, 2021, Regular meeting of the Town Council was a grant application for funding to cover a portion of the costs of CCTV inspection of 8.9-kilometres of gravity sewer pipe. The results of which would then be evaluated and used to adjust asset management planning strategies and update current asset management documents and provide data to assist with the revision of goals. The Town also committed $12,500 from the Sewer System Maintenance Budget towards the cost of this initiative.
The majority of the February 16, 2021, Regular Meeting of Town Council was filled by two lengthy video conference reports. The first one was presented by Tracy Wall, Deputy Assessor for the Thompson Okanagan Region. She provided an overview of property assessment and the 2021 assessment roll. The second presentation was made by Jim Zaffino, Manager of Finance for the RDOS (Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen). His presentation covered the RDOS budget. I attended this meeting via video conference simply because I started feeling ill late in the morning and did not think it was wise to be at the meeting if I was sick. Town Staff quickly acted to provide me access so I could still be part of the meeting from the comfort of home and not put anyone else at risk.
The Special Meeting of Town Council on February 25, 2021, centred primarily on the 2021 Grant-In-Aid requests. A total of nine requests were received totaling $50,964.35. The budget for this year’s Grant-In-Aid program is $25,000. As you can imagine, it was not easy to either turn down or reduce some of the requests that were made as each of them represented worthy causes. Town Council, working with Town Staff, was able to whittle the asks down and come up with a list that met the needs of most of the requests.
It was sort of a good news/bad news month for me. A phone appointment with my local doctor early in the morning f February 16 brought me a great deal of good news. The results of my ECG late last month in Penticton revealed that my heart function has moved up to 30%. It had been down to 10% almost a year ago and 15-20% six months ago. The doctor indicated that I have made significant progress over the past few months. Then later that morning I started to feel ill. I skipped going for my daily walk and lifting weights. At one point I had to lay down. Then I started vomiting.
I chose to pass on attending the Regular Meeting of Town Council scheduled for later than evening. Provisions were made for me to attend it electronically. By the evening, I felt a little better but during the meeting, I got sick again. Before the meeting had concluded, I was on my way to the Princeton Hospital ER. I ended up spending a night and the issue was my sodium level. As we have been keeping it low during my congestive heart failure recovery, we went too low. It took me a week to get back on track to where I was feeling better and missed some meetings as a result. Not exactly how I wanted to end Heart Month, but it was a good reminder to me about the delicate balance required to move forward. Thanks, everyone for your kind words and concern.
I think it had something to do with the weather. With January 2021 being so nice and mild, it just sort of flew by, didn’t it? For what is typically a quiet and cold month, I remember Januarys as seeming to last forever. Well, for me, it was still somewhat quiet but not nearly as cold as I remember previous Januarys to be. That being said, there were still some meetings to attend and decisions that needed to be made as part of my role on Princeton Town Council.
The Meeting Round-Up
My calendar had only five meetings scheduled for the month. One of those got canceled the day before it was to be held and another one I could not attend due to a time conflict. However, I did manage to be at the remaining three meetings. This is a short review of what those meetings were:
Monday, January 18 - 7:30 PM - Regular Meeting of Town Council - Town Hall
Wednesday, January 20 - 5:30 PM - Monthly meeting of Princeton Arts Council - Zoom (*)
Thursday, January 21 - 5:30 PM - Monthly meeting of Princeton Museum Society - Zoom
* - denotes meetings attended as the only member of Town Council present)
Some Details From The Town Council Meeting
At the regular meeting of Town Council, I brought up the Town Hall operating hours as an item of New Business. The weekend before the meeting I had been fielding questions online regarding the closure. Town Hall was open by appointment, phone, or e-mail only. Considering that several other municipal halls in the region had reverted to regular hours, I felt ours should as well and started that conversation with staff via e-mail in the days before the Town Council meeting. I was pleased to learn during my presentation that Town Hall was re-opening a couple of days later. Naturally, COVID protocols are in place including hand sanitizing, mask-wearing, social distancing, and capacity limits.
Again, not a lot to report regarding my health. I can tell you that I was beginning to get bored and disinterested in my daily exercise routine. Typically I go for a walk four days a week, climb the stairs at Miners Climb twice a week, lift light weights on my walk days and take one day off each week. My walks in the first part of January were getting shorter - anywhere between 35 and 45-minutes in length. My stair climbing was in the 4 or 5 trips up and down Miners Climb. I just didn’t feel challenged enough anymore so I took almost a week off. When I got back on track, my walks had extended to just under an hour each and I found myself energized in a new way looking forward to getting outside.
I also had an echocardiogram scheduled for January 29 in Penticton Hospital. While I won’t know the results until I speak with my doctor again, the lab tech who did the test indicated that all three doctors (my family doctor and two specialists) working on my recovery plan would be getting the information. I can tell you that compared to the last ECG I had several months ago things sounded pretty good to me. With atrial fibrillation (AFib) the heart doesn’t properly pump blood out of its chambers and can sometimes sound like “flopping fish.” That was the case with my last ECG. The one on January 29 sounded much stronger to me. Hopefully, the work I’ve been putting into my recovery is paying off.
My name is George Elliott. I have been in the Media Industry since 1978. I spent 23 years in Broadcasting and worked in a total of six different radio stations located in southern British Columbia Canada during my career. In 2000 I switched gears and moved into the Print Media Industry at a small town, local weekly community newspaper. In 2004 I bought the paper and operated it with my wife, Brenda until July 2016 when we closed it. I launched a freelance web content and article writing business from my home in January 2014.