Skip to content

LETTER: Successive governments failing to deliver housing and healthcare to rural B.C.

Leni Normington says it’s time for less talk and more action.

What? Is this more “new math?” Well, if you are a senior and live in rural B.C. and need housing or healthcare, it’s your new math.

H + H = 0 translates to housing + healthcare = zero. That is what successive provincial and federal governments have delivered to us in rural B.C. for decades. We’re told that governments have invested millions, but population growth has basically dwarfed those investments.

So where did I get this information? The Canada Census Data 2021, Central Kootenay, is a good place to start for getting the numbers but listening to the now-retired BC Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie in February this year in Castlegar really hammered home how grim housing and healthcare services are, especially for seniors who live in rural B.C.

And that is us. We live in rural B.C.

Every government knew there was a baby boomer generation 70 years ago, but very little planning has gone into delivering more housing for seniors, more long-term care for seniors, and even adequate healthcare for rural seniors.

The Canada Census says over 3,100 seniors live in and around Castlegar. Even CBT, our very own Columbia Basin Trust, says this: “the largest age group for all genders in the Basin is 65-74 and is larger than the B.C. and Canadian average”. (CBT Summer Symposium, Castlegar, B.C., 2023).

So, there’s a lot of us.

The boomer generation and the demands on enough housing and healthcare are not going to get any smaller, they are only going to swell in the future as more and more people join this demographic. In my opinion, it is disgraceful how “rural” seniors housing needs and healthcare are handled.

We are not nouns like old, geriatric, old-timer: we are verbs like enthusiastic, passionate, distinguished, wise, and experienced.

Let’s giddy up and get this done. Time for less talk and more action.

Leni Normington

Castlegar, B.C.