RDBN Director Newell wants health and infrastructure improvements

Houston's Rob Newell was re-elected Regional District Director for the Houston Rural area, with 975 voters and 14,446 square kilometres

Rob Newell

Houston’s Rob Newell is the re-elected Regional District Director for the Houston Rural area (Area “G”).

The area has an estimated 975 potential voters and covers 14,446 square kilometres from the top of Hungry Hill to four kilometres east of Topley, north to the Walcott Station Road and south to the end of Owen Lake.

This is Newell’s second term as Director in the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) and he is passionate about what he wants to accomplish.

As communities in the north, “we just need to work together,” he said.

Lobbying government for revenue sharing as an individual northwest community has been fruitless, but by working together the north can move forward towards a positive response, Newell said.

Recently, 27 communities and their electoral areas have created a coalition called NW Alliance to give the north a collective voice.

One key thing they want to do is get provincial tax revenue shared more equally.

“It’s not always population that is important, it’s land mass and the fact that a lot of the resources come from the north,” Newell said.

Over 76 percent of B.C.’s manufacturing exports come from 100 Mile House north, and Newell says B.C. leaders need to realize that “a healthy urban economy needs a healthy rural economy.”

Secondly, the NW Alliance wants to change the Gas Tax Fund and allow it to be used for getting reliable and affordable high-speed internet.

Newell says this is essential to provide equality and give rural businesses and schools the same opportunities as urban ones.

It’s also essential to provide telemedicine, so that northern residents can talk with medical professionals online and don’t have to travel so far for simple appointments.

It will also help entice professionals into the area and fill the skills gap, Newell said.

Newell says he is also excited about the impact of the newly completed Regional Skills Gap Analysis, which will be implemented by the Strategic Workforce Opportunities Team (SWOT).

It will help workers get certification, businesses develop partnerships, and it will encourage entrepreneurship, Newell said.

In this way, it will develop a home grown economy and keep youth in the area.

Speaking of work still needed, Newell said the biggest problem he sees in the north is the deficit in rural infrastructure.

He wants a long-term sustainable infrastructure plan to be developed so things are maintained in a reliable, predictable way, not influenced by bias or done in secret.

Newell also says it’s important for rural communities, especially Houston, to develop exit strategies for larger companies to agree on before coming in.

As for 24/7 health care, Newell says he thinks it will start with nurse practitioners who can deal with wounds and treatment, and can care for patients discharged early from hospitals.

He says recruiting nurses and doctors to the area will involve intentional welcoming and connecting a doctors family in the community – an effort that brought huge success in Fort St. James.

“We have to make it attractive for these people to come in,” he said.

Finally, Newell says perhaps the most important thing is that people need to get involved in decisions about infrastructure, priorities and future plans for their communities.



Just Posted

Gitxsan forming cross-sector salmon management team

Nation again declares closure of fishery in territory for 2019

It’s the last day to vote in B.C.’s referendum on electoral reform

Ballots must now be dropped off in person to meet the deadline of 4:30 p.m.

Motorhome explosion in Houston

A motorhome by the Houston Motor Inn had an explosion Sunday, Dec.… Continue reading

SD54 elects board positions

Trustees also appointed to committees.

Christmas is a comin’

Some of Houston residents are getting the ball rolling for the upcoming… Continue reading

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Federal government plans examination of coerced sterilization

The Liberals have been pressed for a rapid response to recent reports on the sterilizations

Huitema, Cornelius named 2018 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

Huitema was captain of Canada’s fourth-place team at this year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup

Canada not slowing emissions from oil and gas: environmental groups

New report released at the United Nations climate talks in Poland

Liberal Party moves Trudeau fundraiser from military base

The fundraiser is scheduled for Dec. 19, with tickets costing up to $400

Pipeline protesters arrested at B.C. university

Three protesters were arrested after TRU property allegedly vandalized with red paint

Goodale to ‘examine’ transfer of Rafferty to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Minister appoints former CIRB chair to resolve Canada Post labour dispute

Postal workers engaged in weeks of rotating walkouts

Most Read