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B.C. hospital’s use as shelter ‘clarion call’ about housing crisis, says mayor

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  • The 10-bed regional hospital that serves the medical needs of 5,000 people on the remote west coast of Vancouver Island has been doing extra duty lately as an emergency shelter for the homeless and poorly housed, says the mayor of Tofino.

    Josie Osborne says she and her council were shocked to discover that Tofino General Hospital regularly provides beds and meals for people who arrive at the facility for treatment who would normally not require in-patient service.

    A delegation from Island Health, including the area’s medical health officer and a hospital doctor, appeared at Tofino council last month when the issue was discussed, she said.

    “I personally was unaware that people were staying overnight in the hospital sometimes because they simply didn’t have an adequate home to go back to,” said Osborne. “That’s deeply concerning.”

    Tofino General Hospital serves as a regional health facility for a vast region of eight communities, some of which are accessible only by boat or float plane. Osborne said due to the distances some people travel and the remoteness of their communities, the hospital sometimes admits people overnight who can’t make it home after treatment, although the homeless issue is a recent development.

    “But there are a few people who live in Tofino who present at the hospital and they’ve got both medical and social reasons why the hospital staff choose to admit them overnight,” said Osborne. “It is effectively acting as a temporary shelter for some people who don’t have a safe home or a healthy place to return to at night.”

    She said hospital staff now admit people on a regular basis overnight who have no other place to go.

    “It’s a clarion call, I think, to the entire community to say we have problems we have to talk about,” Osborne said. “They are difficult to talk about but we’ve got to resolve these.”

    She said she doesn’t believe the hospital is planning to close its doors to the homeless.

    “I don’t get the sense the hospital is upset,” Osborne said.

    Island Health spokeswoman Shannon Marshall said B.C. hospitals, including Tofino General, do not consider themselves emergency homeless shelters, but patients without housing are often admitted overnight to allow health officials to help make plans for their futures.

    Tofino regularly struggles with affordable housing shortages for local workers who serve the area’s thousands of tourists, but now the accommodation crisis is hitting the most vulnerable people the hardest, said Osborne.

    “With the exception of higher end market housing, it’s very difficult for people to find something affordable for their income range,” she said. “That goes from professionals down to tourism front-line workers to retirees who move to the community and want to spend their time here.”

    Tofino is in the planning stages of developing an affordable, multi-unit, rental housing project on municipal land, but a completion date has not been set, said Osborne. 

    She said discovering the local hospital is serving as an emergency shelter heightens the need to address the housing shortfall in the community.

    “It just raises the level of awareness that there are gaps at all levels, especially when you hear about the gaps for our more vulnerable population.”

    The B.C. Housing Ministry said in a statement the situation in Tofino demonstrates how the housing crisis is affecting communities. The province has committed to building 114,000 new affordable homes over 10 years.

    Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press


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    Celebrity Dance Off

    Travolta and Newton-John wrap up the Celebrity Dance Off

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  • Trevor Sopracolle went from watching the Celebrity Dance Off last year, to being front and centre this year!  Trevor was the first “Oil Man” in the Celebrity Dance Off.  Hopefully the first of many.  He’s also one of the toughest looking Travolta’s you’ll ever see.  Trevor and his pro partner Alex McPherson wrapped up the show with a brilliant choice of music from Grease.  “Olivia” was amazing.. and “John” turned the world upside down.  See for yourself. .. 

    My Story…

    I was born in Goodsoil, Saskatchewan and moved to Alberta when I was in grade 3 and spent most of my youth in Consort.

    I lost my Dad to cancer when I was in high school and so I grew up fast. At 17 I secured a loan for a 2-bedroom house with a dirt floor basement. To make ends meet, I worked as a tire technician at the local tire shop while attending high school. One of the only benefits of owning your own place in high school is having the coolest parties after the high school dances!

    I moved to Red Deer in 1999 at the age of 19 and began working at Fountain Tire. Not long later a local snubbing company hired me. Over a 10-year period I worked my way up becoming a senior supervisor overseeing most of the higher-class pressure jobs and many overseas projects. In 2008, Garrett Radchenko and I started Goliath Snubbing Ltd., and we haven’t looked back.

    I have also been blessed with the best kids a Dad could ask for. Being a single Dad with three kids under 8 definitely keeps me busy.


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    Celebrity Dance Off

    This dentist has a sweet tooth for the dance floor!

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  • Good chance most people don’t think of dentists and fun at the same time.  Well then most people haven’t met Dr Isaac Day yet.  The Innisfail dentist and father of 6 certainly knows how to have a good time.  Day and pro dancer Jinelle Themig nearly brought the roof down at the Cambridge Conference Centre.. especially when they shocked the crowd with one of the riskiest tricks we’ve ever seen at this competition.  Bet you can’t watch this just once.  It’s too much fun!

    My Story…

    A competitive fundraiser for a great cause? I’m all in!
    I am the founder of Day Dental and we have the best dental team and patients ever. With their support, we will keep the Mirror Ball trophy where it belongs…in Innisfail!
    While Innisfail has been home for my family and me for the last 7 years, I was born and raised in Edmonton where I completed my Bachelor of Medical Science and my Doctor of Dental Surgery. After working in Edmonton, my wife and I packed up our kids and moved to Central Alberta.
    I enjoy different experiences, personally and professionally, from working in a cosmetically driven dental practice in Edmonton to being the dentist at the Bowden Prison. When a new experience presents itself, the answer is YES. So when the opportunity to participate in the Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off presented itself, I knew I couldn’t turn it down.
    I am looking forward to helping this great cause, and to trying something new and exciting, and most definitely out of my comfort zone!


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    april, 2019

    fri8mar - 30aprmar 85:30 pmapr 30Real Estate Dinner Theatre(march 8) 5:30 pm - (april 30) 10:00 pm

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    sat27apr1:00 pm- 4:00 pmMAGSaturday @ the MuseumMAGnificent Saturdays welcomes all ages and abilities to participate in a fun art project every week! 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

    mon29apr1:30 pm- 4:00 pmWellness Recovery Action PlanningCanadian Mental Health Association1:30 pm - 4:00 pm

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