Dr. Paul Stent. (Photo — Randy Rawluk)

Letter: Heartened by the work shown by communities

Dr. Paul Stent, acting mayor for the district of Fort St. James writes a letter to residents

By Dr. Paul Stent, acting Mayor, Fort St. James

April 1, 2020

To all of the people of Fort St James and the surrounding communities,

I hope that everyone in this area is aware that I have been appointed by Council as acting Mayor, following the resignation of Mrs. Bev Playfair more than 2 weeks ago.

Because of the Provincial State of Emergency, all municipal elections and by-elections are suspended indefinitely, so I may have to remain in this post for as long as six months. Council continues to work diligently on your behalf.

As you are likely aware, we are currently in a period of uncertainty because of the risk of contracting the coronavirus (COVID- 19) infection. The new restrictions announced by the BC government follow those used by countries which have shown a flattening of the COVID-19 infection curve, placing us ahead of Ontario, Alberta and Washington state.

I have been heartened by the work that ALL members of our communities have been putting in to follow the guidelines released by the Ministry of Health. Maintaining social distancing is a difficult thing as handshakes and hugs have always been part of our everyday lives!

However, please continue this so that we avoid the pandemic directly affecting us!

There are many people and groups who deserve an ongoing vote of thanks from me and the Council of the District of Fort St James:

• All of the staff members of all the clinics in the area and the Stuart Lake Hospital. This includes all the nurses, doctors, care aides, janitors, kitchen staff, lab and x-ray techs, maintenance and administrative staff in these facilities, as well as the BC ambulance attendants.

• The members of the Fort St James District staff: All members of the fire department, administration, and the Public Works department, who are all continuing to provide essential services.

• The Chamber of Commerce and the business sector, especially the grocery stores, pharmacy and other essential services, who are making a point to encourage and facilitate social distancing, and the protection of our seniors and elders who are at the greatest risk.

• Our citizens who continue to show resolve, resilience and kindness.

Perhaps you know of a neighbour, or someone else in town, who is a senior or has chronic health problems, but does not have family members or friends in town to assist them. Please check on such people with a phone call, text message, or written note.

You may be able to help out by bringing groceries to their door, arranging medical assistance, or by just being someone from the outside world.

In doing so, be sure to protect yourself from becoming infected, or passing on an infection yourself if you have no symptoms.

Please continue to check the District website for updates on Fort St. James for community and business supports.

Please, everybody, keep up the good work and wash your hands!

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