Dr. Andries Nieminn of Daysland brought forward the government push for turning the local clinic into a Family Care Clinic (FCC) at the Council meeting on December 19.
“What I am afraid of with FCC’s is that they make all kinds of promises, like there will be a doctor on call from eight a.m. to eight p.m.,” Nieminn said. “What they fail to mention is that after eight p.m. the Emergency Room is usually closed. EMS staff will simply transport to the nearest larger full-time center.”
Nieminn also went on to say that this change would “be the end of our local clinics as we know it.”
He explained that he was not against FCCs, saying that they would be great for urban centers that have multiple facilities in the same area, thus allowing hospitals to concentrate on emergencies while FCCs can deal with day to day problems and illnesses.
“We can’t always service the demand [and] we are well aware of that, but we are working on it,” Nieminn said. “I can guarantee that we will always offer services. When and if FCC takes over, we can no longer guarantee that.”
After a brief discussion by Council, Mayor Peter Miller made the motion that CAO Debra Moffat should write a letter to FCC to inform them that they cannot support this project in their area.
Many Forestburg residents showed up to discuss Council’s plan to tax home businesses as commercial property.
“I understand your fear of the new taxations, but it is nothing to worry about if they are not significant,” said Councilor Danya Oberg.
“The extra taxes for you will amount to somewhere in the range of $3.15 to $230 depending on the size of your business when we do the split assessment,” said Moffat.
Joanne Green, who owns a Bed and Breakfast as well as stained glass art studio with husband Bill spoke to the matter.
“If Revenue Canada sees the word ‘commercial’ on any tax bills then we are charged with over $40,000 in capital gains when we sell our homes,” she said. “We will close our business if this is passed. We cannot afford to pay up to $70,000 when we retire.”
Moffat explained that the changes were not set in stone.
“We are simply looking at ways to increase our business assessment so it appears Forestburg is growing economically,” she said. “We are almost double on our home assessment versus our business assessment, and this was one of the ways suggested to change that. It is by no means our only plan or set in stone.”
Bill Green noted that alternatives to taxation could be explored.
“Maybe rather than increase taxes on the businesses already here you should try to attract more business into the town,” he said.
In the end, Mayor Miller made a motion.
“We will table this [one] year, weigh the options, get more public feedback and come to a better final decision that everyone can agree with,” he said.
The new sewer lift station is up and running. Solar streetlamps and a new pool project are coming in the spring.