A number of positive activities are underway in Enderby, but they could all be undermined by a lack of doctors.
There will only be one permanent physician early in the new year and that’s a concern for the 7,200 people living in the city, the rural area and the Splatsin First Nation.
“Our top priority is to do what ever we can to make our doctor situation healthy,” said Mayor Howie Cyr.
“The Interior Health Authority is working to get two doctors but it doesn’t fit the bill for our community. There are a lot of people without doctors.”
There is a concern among Enderby officials that residents, and particularly seniors, could move out of town if they don’t have easy access to a physician, and it could be difficult to attract new people to Enderby, which would impact the economy and schools.
The city recently wrote the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons for an explanation on certification requirements and why it is difficult for foreign-trained doctors to get licensed to practise in the province.
“We want to be satisfied that it’s not a bunch of bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo.” said Cyr.
The city has also partnered with rural Enderby director Jackie Pearase to promote the community to doctors looking to establish a new practise.
“We’re not sitting on our hands. We’re pushing on this matter and we won’t let it go,” said Cyr.
Besides possibly recruiting two new permanent doctors in 2013, the Interior Health Authority has been ensuring part-time doctors are available for residents.
Beyond the focus on health care, the city is working with the rural area, the Splatsin First Nation and the Enderby Chamber of Commerce on the vitalization program.
“It will result in changes downtown with traffic flow and signage. It will also result in a branding of our community,” said Cyr.
The goal of the vitalization program is to encourage an active community among existing residents and attract new residents and visitors.
“I get a ton of positive feedback from the community,” said Cyr.
“There are always comments that Enderby is vibrant. People are excited.”
Among the highlights so far was the introduction of a new pedestrian market in the summer and fall that featured local produce and crafts.
Key to the entire vitalization process, according to Cyr, is co-operation.
“We have cultivated great relationships with Area F and the Splatsin First Nation,” he said.
Like other municipalities in the North Okanagan, Enderby will also spend much of 2013 focused on infrastructure. Such work may not grab the headlines but it is vital if the community is to remain sustainable.
“We’re working on our storm drain situation and there are some projects on tap in the new year,” said Cyr.