Athabasca Advocate – October 31, 2017

Hannah Lawson

Health minister visits Athabasca; Alberta Health minister tours Athabasca Auxiliary Association’s nearly complete $7,157 family room project



Alberta Deputy Premier and Health Minister Sarah Hoffman visited Athabasca Oct. 26 to speak with local councils and tour the Athabasca Healthcare Centre.

“One of the things I’m really excited about is seeing in northern communities, outside of Edmonton and Calgary particularly, you have a real opportunity to see the commitment that community members have for their facilities,” Hoffman said in an interview.

Hoffman visited the Athabasca Healthcare Centre Auxiliary Association’s latest almost-complete project, a former smoke room transformed into a family room.

Heather Wallach, past auxiliary president, said the family room has been a “catch-all” room until the auxiliary decided to make it into a family room any folks with terminally ill family members checked in at the healthcare centre.

“AHS (Alberta Health Services) probably would not have funded that, and you know, you feel that these things are important,” she said. “If family is living away and have to spend time with a loved one there, and want to be at their side, kind of thing, that’s why we did that.”

Renovations to the family room included installing up-to-code furniture, including a love seat that pulls out for overnight visits, appliances, and the last step is blinds for privacy.

In total, the family room project will cost $7,157.

This year the Alberta Healthcare Auxiliaries Association celebrates 70 years of volunteer efforts to the Alberta Healthcare System. According to a 2016 auxiliary fact sheet, there are 1,110 volunteers across the province that have fundraised $1,441,375, and have contributed 158,442 recorded volunteer hours donated in work to healthcare facilities.

Hoffman said she was also glad to see the wall of remembrance of projects completed by the local auxiliary association, and seeing every person who has lived and passed on named on the centre’s walls.

“It’s great to see these kinds of projects, and the auxiliary definitely has a long list of accomplishments. It’s nice to be able to see some of them first hand.”

Hoffman added the Alberta Government recently invested in $1.5 million into the Athabasca Healthcare Centre for maintenance and upkeep.

“While it isn’t necessarily the sexy projects we cut ribbons for, getting two new hot water boilers and a new chiller, and doing work on the roof, making sure it’s a safe place for patients to be, families to visit and staff to work… that’s an important investment in local community, and the skilled tradespeople that do those installs as well,” Hoffman said.

Members of the media were not invited to Hoffman’s meeting with Athabasca County and Town of Athabasca councils.

The Free Press, Morinville/Gibbons – September 19, 2017

MLA Colin Piquette (centre) and mayor Tom Flynn present Jock Archer (left) with the 2017 Alice Modin Award for Seniors Service. This is the first year of the award, which is given to a senior 65 or older who has provided 20 or more years of service. The 6th Annual Seniors Workshop was held Sept 14 in Redwater. The event is put on by the Sturgeon County Seniors Advisory Council.  The event featured information about financial assistance programs, healthy eating and cholesterol. Jock Archer has contributed to the community of Gibbons since the early 1970s.  He was involved in the creation of the Dew Drop Inn seniors’ facility and has served as president of the Gibbons Seniors Twilight Club since 1999.  Jock also organizes events including pancake breakfasts and holiday dinners for seniors.

Member’s Statement May 1, 2017 – 2 Year Retrospective

As we approach the second anniversary of our government and my own as an MLA, I’d like to take a few moments to reflect on some of the progress that’s been made in my own riding of Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater.

When I was first elected, there were many outstanding issues, some long overdue, that needed to be addressed. For instance, the bridge over the Athabasca River on highway 813 had been in need of replacement since my father was the MLA. Now, thanks to the commitment of our government to make good on years of previous neglect, this is finally happening.

The completion of highway 63’s twinning and the multiple upgrades and curve reductions on highway 28 have made driving much safer for my constituents and indeed for all those who live and work in northeastern Alberta.

Two years ago Athabasca University’s status was uncertain. Now, thanks to our new government, a sustainable future has been assured for the university and for the community that depends on it.

Happily, I would need more than two minutes to list all the improvements to health care facilities, schools, and seniors’ facilities that we have been fortunate to receive as well. These investments speak well to the government’s commitment to the health, education, and well-being of rural Albertans.

The Industrial Heartland is not only of utmost strategic importance to Alberta’s long-term prospects; its local importance cannot be overstated. Thanks to our continued support for the North West Refinery’s phase 1, our petrochemicals diversification program, and, of course, our success in reframing our reputation as a responsible energy producer, investor confidence has been restored and new projects announced. But with increasing development in the Industrial Heartland, traffic has reached critical levels, severely impacting workers, local residents, and jeopardizing future growth. Working closely with municipal and industry partners, we have introduced badly needed intersection improvements to help clear congestion and improve safety.

We’ve made great progress on these issues and on many others, of course, but there’s always much more work that needs to be done, and we will continue towards those goals.