NDP MLA Brittny Anderson says rural strategy will build stronger Kootenay communities

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NELSON – New Democrat MLA Brittny Anderson says that the provincial government’s new strategy for rural B.C. will help to strengthen rural communities in the Kootenays.

“When rural communities have strong public services and infrastructure, people can build better lives for their families,” said Brittny Anderson, MLA for Nelson-Creston. “I know there is a bright future ahead, and our New Democrat government is making sure that rural and small communities are part of it.”

The strategy, titled StrongerBC: Good Lives in Strong Communities, was released today.


Here’s what else people in Nelson-Creston are saying about the strategy:

Keith Page, Councillor, Nelson –

“We welcome the development of this rural lens to focus the province’s investments in the Kootenay Boundary, Central Kootenay, and Nelson. Rural folks have long understood the strength and resilience that we bring to the province of British Columbia as we all tackle the challenges before us. We look forward to working closely with the government through this new rural focus to build a better B.C.”

Jay Stewart, Little League president and baseball coach, Nelson –

“In the seven years since our family relocated to the West Kootenays from East Vancouver, we have come to love rural life in B.C. It is not without its challenges – challenges shared by rural communities all across our region and province. We need a reliable airport that functions year-round. We need affordable housing of every type. We desperately need family doctors and healthcare investment that ensures doctors, nurses, and hospitals are there when we need them. We need continued investment in dependable, expansive, high-speed internet and highway cell coverage. Today, it feels like we’ve been heard. Seeing the government taking these concerns seriously in developing a rural strategy that makes remote living healthier, safer, and more inclusive makes our family feel like our well-being matters, too.”

Arnold De Boon, Mayor, Creston –

“We were fortunate to have high speed internet installed before other communities, and it did bring people who could work remotely back to where they called home. Expanding this to so many other communities means children can live close to their grandparents as they grow older and also adds economic development opportunities at the same time. Improving access to health care, aiding in the recruitment, training and retaining of health care workers, providing more Angel Flights will greatly enhance the ability for people to access the services they need, with greater assurance their needs can be met in a timely manner. So much of this plan coincides with the conversations we have had at our Council tables that it makes us feel like there will be collaborative solutions within sight.”

John Dooley, Nelson –

“As a former mayor, I know the challenges faced by small, rural communities. Any time the provincial government puts forward a strategy such as Good Lives in Strong Communities that has a focus on collaboration and support it is a very positive step forward.”

Mike van Hellemond, Skilled Trades Worker, IBEW local 1003 –

“Very excited about this announcement and our BC New Democrat MLA Brittny Andersons’ involvement including feedback from our local communities and her ongoing commitment to engage with and represent rural areas.”

Justine Keirn, Executive Director, Valley Community Services, Creston –

“I feel privileged to work and live in our small, rural B.C. community of Creston. Rural B.C. offers many benefits, though, unfortunately, it also comes with a lack of services and supports. Hearing of the investment our government is making to build a brighter future for rural B.C. gives me hope the health, wellness and safety of our community will be better. In Creston, transportation services tailored to the needs of individuals who need it are limited and certain types of health care are available only at a significant distance as winter roads often prevent travel. Due to a lack of transportation, people often prefer to receive services virtually. Due to a lack of connectivity, this is often not possible. We are experiencing a significant lack of housing, with many people being precariously housed or homeless due to a lack of available affordable rental properties. This lack of housing also affects the ability of employers to recruit people. We welcome additional investment in public services, transportation, healthcare, and policing and are excited to see these investments make communities stronger.”

Aimee Watson, Chair, Area D, Regional District of Central Kootenay –

“Rural B.C. has been the cash cow to B.C.’s economy. It’s always been, as well, some of the most beautiful country in the world. To live in rural B.C. is a privilege I and the residents of the Regional District of Central Kootenay are grateful for every day. Establishing services within urban-based policies and regulations is where we lose sight of the goal: healthy and safe communities. Delivering water is one the most expensive basic services in rural areas and the majority of our rural communities do not have potable water. This strategy is the first time I have seen the province not only recognize the severe disparities between urban and rural living but is actually apply the insightful context local governments and rural B.C. have consistently brought to the table. There is still lots to do, but we are, as a first step, finally going in the right direction. Of most hope is the pathway to reconciliation. Local governments, as tools of colonization, are required to assess the business case (service case model). What does not register on financial statements is the value of fresh water, intact watersheds, and healthy ecosystems resilient to fire. This is knowledge the original peoples of this land have always had. To embrace and incorporate these values is essential to our collective future.”

Roger Tierney, Director, Area B, Regional District of Central Kootenay –

“Wow! As an Electoral Area Director in the Central Kootenays, I am very pleased to hear of the provincial government’s investment in rural B.C. I feel the cumulative impact of these initiatives will make a generational change that will benefit everyone living in rural areas. I look forward to working with the province to implement this plan which will result in tangible benefits for our shared constituents.”

Tracey Therrien, Chief Librarian, Nelson Public Library –

“The pandemic highlighted that those without access to technology were left behind. In our community, we saw families outside the library in their cars accessing the library’s Wi-Fi, because it wasn’t available at their home, or it was unaffordable. Ensuring all rural communities have access to stable, affordable high-speed internet will reduce the digital divide and support access to information, training, connections and increase economic opportunities.”

Learn More: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023PREM0058-001487