November didn’t quite go as I had planned. Well, at least the first half was fairly normal with a regular load of meetings, then things went sort of sideways on me. Before I get into the details on that, I do want to mention that at one of our regular public meetings it was announced that the KVR through the town would be subject to partial opening for motorized traffic.
This was a long and detailed decision where staff, the Mixed-Trail KVR Select Committee, members of Town Council (including myself) and other regulatory bodies all had a say and offered suggestions. I’m quite happy with the proposed access plan that will go into effect this coming Spring. I know it’s not perfect, but it provides access to local services.
The Hospital Thing
I had attended the Monday, November 17 Regular Meeting of Town Council and felt pretty good. Late that night, around midnight, I started vomiting. At first, we thought I had food poisoning and treated it at home for a few days. At one point my wife, Brenda, contacted the HealthLink BC service (dial 8-1-1) and the nurse who answered provided some extra assistance.
When things were not improving very much, Bren took me to the Princeton ER. I was checked in at about 10:00 PM on Sunday, November 23. By this time I was in bad shape. I was slurring my words and was in a fog. I have little memory of my stay in the ER but know that early the next morning I was shipped to Penticton ICU aboard the Heart Transportation vehicle.
Dr. Black had told Bren at the time that I was very ill and the prognosis was not very good. Friends of ours from Osoyoos arrived at the Penticton hospital as I was getting wheeled in, beating Brenda by a few minutes. I was quickly assessed and immediately admitted to the Intensive Care Unit for treatment. My blood pressure was very low and my heartbeat was high.
Group of Doctors
In Penticton hospital, I was being treated by Drs. Cho, Little, Klassen, and Jackson. They determined that I had developed a bowel blockage. However, I also had several complications that accompanied that. The list included partially collapsed lungs which prevented me from getting deep breaths, kidney failure and an irregular heartbeat of 125+.
The goal was to stabilize the complications before taking on the blockage. The hope was to avoid surgery and at one point I had IVs running into both arms. One contained a heart medication that is new to Penticton hospital and it somehow wiggled out of my vein and leaked into my arm causing it to swell to twice normal size and leave a huge fluid sack in my skin.
After three nights in ICU, I was moved to the Kampe Tower where I spent two nights and then down to pediatrics (being converted to adult rooms) for two more nights. I got released at 1:00 PM on Monday, December 2 and spent a week recovering in the home of our friends in Osoyoos. I’ve been home since Monday, December 9. My full recovery will take weeks.
I cannot say enough about the medical services we have access to in both Princeton and Penticton. The ER staff, nurses and doctors here in Princeton are incredible. We are truly blessed to have such amazing professionals in our medical facility. The Heart Transportation staff and the Penticton ICU staff, nurses, doctors, lab and x-ray techs are all top-notch professionals.
Each medical professional I came in contact with from Princeton to Penticton was wonderful. Each of them clearly loves what they are doing and exhibited compassion, concern, and care that raised the bar in my mind. I felt safe, comfortable and in the best of care at all times. I am also very grateful for the prayers, visits, and cards received. Thank you all and I hope to be back serving you and the community as soon as possible.
This past month (October 2019) has been a heavy one for me. I had a total of 19 scheduled events/meetings on my calendar and ended up missing 3 of them due to time conflicts. Here is a quick breakdown of my month of meetings:
Regular Public Meetings
October 1 – Committee of the Whole
October 7 and 21 – Town Council
October 9 – Princeton Arts Council AGM (conducted the Election of Officers)
October 15 – Princeton Health Care Steering Committee, PGH
October 17 – Princeton Museum (*)
October 1 – School Board
October 11 – Strategic Planning – Session #1, RockRidge Canyon
October 15 - Strategic Planning – Session #2, Town Hall
October 23 – Interior Health Authority Board Chair Doug Cochrane, PGH
October 28 and 29 – Budget Sessions, Town Hall
October 2 – Welcoming Dinner (School District Aboriginal Advisory Board), PSS Gym
October 16 – Pickleball User Group (*)
October 22 – Princeton Fall Fair AGM (conducted the Election of Officers) (*)
October 29 – Conservation Office Service, Town Hall
(* denotes meeting attended alone. All other meetings include members of Town Council and Staff).
Strategic Planning/Budgeting Sessions
For what is apparently the first time in recent history, Princeton Town Council and Staff started strategic planning sessions and financial budgeting in October. Last year it was in December. The sessions were long, involved and extensive. A full day of planning took place at RockRidge Canyon on October 11 where we took a look at what projects had been completed over the past year, which ones were yet to be completed and what projects we wanted to add into the budget for 2020.
The budgeting sessions were not nearly as long as the strategic planning dates were and we managed to complete a proposed financial plan by the evening of October 29. Highlights from the budget include a heavy chunk going towards various items that fall under the category of infrastructure. This includes equipment upgrades, new equipment for some departments and funding for ongoing projects.
One piece of equipment that will be a welcome addition is a line painting machine. This tool will permit the Town Crew to paint crosswalks and other road and parking lot features in spring annually. Currently these jobs are contracted out and Princeton ends up getting “fit in wherever there is time” and these lines don’t get done until later in the year. I think it is fair to say that the look of the current crosswalks downtown has disappointed all of us and it won’t likely happen again.
Another category that will see a lot of support in the 2020 budget is tourism and economic development. This will include a number of visual and marketing elements meant to promote the community and attract tourists. An extensive multi-layer approach will be used that will get the word out about the many year ‘round activities and attractions that can be found in this part of the Similkameen Valley.
Those are just a couple of key points I wanted to share with you about the direction of Town Council in 2020. More details will be announced in the coming weeks.
September 2019 was a very interesting month for me. It started as usual with regular meetings and ended with a week-long conference in Vancouver. A lot of ground was covered throughout the month and I’ll try to give you a general idea of what all took place and the accomplishments made along the way.
Regular Public Meetings
My meeting schedule contained a total of 12 regular meetings for September. One ended up getting cancelled and two I missed due to scheduling conflicts. Here is the breakdown:
September 3 and 16 – Town Council
September 11 – Committee of the Whole
September 4 – Princeton Arts Council
September 17 – Princeton Exhibition Association (PXA) *
September 19 – Princeton Museum Society *
September 18 – Okanagan Regional Library, Kelowna *
September 12 – Community Health Centre Working Committee *
September 20 – SOS Division Family Practice, Penticton *
(* denotes meeting attended alone. All other meetings include members of Town Council and Staff).
September 4 saw the massive wood archways go up spanning Vermilion Avenue and Bridge Street as the first part of a downtown beautification project. They look fantastic!
September 7 I attended the 2nd annual Bra and Toonie Auction at Princeton Golf Course Clubhouse. I was the auctioneer again and helped raise money for the Terry Fox Cancer Society.
UBCM – Union of British Columbia Municipalities
The annual ‘government convention’ hosted by the UBCM is always the last week of September. This year’s was in Vancouver and all of your town council, plus CAO, attended. There were several workshops, networking events and receptions planned for the five days of UBCM. Probably the most important part of the event for Princeton Town Council was the private meetings were had with provincial ministry officials. In total, we had four:
September 24 – Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions Staff
September 25 – Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure Staff
September 25 – Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy Staff
September 26 – Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing – Minister Selina Robinson
Each meeting ranged in length from 15 to 30-minutes and was carefully timed. We had prepared presentations for each visit and were complimented more than once on how prepared we were. Detail on each meeting will be released at a later date.
Workshops Plus More
My first event at UBCM was on September 23 and was a workshop titled, “Parity: Breaking Down Barriers, Building Momentum.” It focused on the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) recently adopted national action to “remove barriers and support more women to run, win and stay in local elected office.” This was followed by a New Delegates Orientation Session. The day wrapped up with a reception hosted by FortisBC.
The rest of the week included the above-mentioned ministry meetings and additional workshops. I attended one titled, “Connected Communities BC: Enhancing Resiliency Through Connectivity” that centred on how small communities can benefit from better internet infrastructure. I listened to Mayors of small towns in BC explain their plight and describe how they believed that fibre internet would become “a game changer” in their town. It made me realize how far ahead Princeton really is on this particular subject.
Logging Truck Convoy
I have to admit that the members of Princeton Town Council had up-to-date information on the location and size of the logging truck convoy that was heading to downtown Vancouver on September 25. As a result, we were outside cheering them on with several of the record 2,000 delegates at UBCM as the convoy was heading to that event. They got to a block away from the event where traffic control directed them away from the immediate area. However, the estimated 400 logging trucks took two hours to pass the intersection of Canada Place and Burrard Street and we were down there with them.
BC Premier John Horgan acknowledged their efforts on the final day of UBCM with his closing address. He pointed out that urban BC has the infrastructure for rural BC to grow with while rural BC has the resources needed by urban BC and that both sides have to work in partnership in order to succeed. By the sound of many comments heard following the convoy, the loggers got their message across and left quite an impression on elected officials from many of the urban centres in the province. I was filled with pride when I saw local logging trucks pass me on Canada Way in front of the Vancouver Convention Centre. The one truck with a BC flag and a Town of Princeton flag on it caused me to step aside to gather my thoughts. It was an emotional sight to see.
The Take Aways
Aside from learning about some incredibly cool products that you may or may not see popping up in and around Princeton that were part of the UBCM Trade Show, I learned a great deal from conversations and observations. I think what I found most interesting is that regardless of the size of your community, we all share the same basic issues. Infrastructure and housing are usually the hot button issues and they also happen to be the focus of our efforts as well. In the coming month we will be attending Strategic Planning and Budget Sessions and I expect things learned from connections made at UBCM to provide some guidance.
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.