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‘Our voice will be heard’: Mayor Baker’s first meeting will deal with Boundary Hospital

The mayor of Grand Forks says protecting the hospital from cuts or closure will be his first order of business.

In his inaugural address this morning, Everett Baker says he’s very concerned about service at Boundary Hospital and concern grows as the days go on.

“We are truly in a crisis here and that’s why my very first meeting as the official mayor will be with MLA (Roly) Russell and regional district chair of the Boundary Services Committee, Grace McGregor,” Baker stated.

The meeting is scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon.

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“We will put our heads to together. We will come up with an answer. You need to hear me, our voice will be heard in the halls of Interior Health and the B.C. Legislature,” he said.

The tone was more stern and dire from the mayor who told Vista Radio in August that the hospital was “quite close” to a crisis.

The inpatient unit at Boundary Hospital has been closed since March. As of August, only one of the six registered nursing positions in the inpatient unit were staffed.

As part of the new council liaison appointments, Baker is staying on the Interior Health Authority and Minister of Health portfolios.

The mayor’s address, which was about 13 minutes, also touched on revisiting the city’s communications policy, having an open door policy with all citizens and getting an asset management plan in place.

“We need to spend some time focusing on our infrastructure. It’s really nice when the above ground is pretty and lights look great. But, wait ’till we have problem with our pipes and we don’t have water or sewer. Then the real problem begins,” the mayor said.

On a lighter note, recounting a “point of interest” on the history of Grand Forks, Baker said the city’s founding mayor in 1897 was John Manly “and he was, by happenstance, the local undertaker. Well, 125 years later, I will say no more,” Baker said to laughter from the audience at city hall.

For those who don’t know, Baker and his family own and operate the Grand Forks Funeral Home.

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