Houston council reports on community businesses

Grocery store, college, and Smithers hospital updates

  • Jun. 21, 2017 7:00 p.m.

Last Tuesday on June 6, 2017 at the District of Houston council chambers, mayor Shane Brienen reported on Buy-Low-Foods coming to Houston.

“Finally some good news with Buy-Low-Foods in the mall. It’s been a long process. We have reached an agreement with them, and they have said in their announcement that they plan on putting in a deli and a bakery. They would like to start as soon as possible, and they would like the community to know that it will be a lengthy process,” said Brienen.

There is no exact time as to when Buy-Low-Foods will be open and operating in Houston at this time.

“There is no exact time on it yet. But talking with Dan Bregg, it sounds like they are excited to get started on the project,” said Brienen.

On May 26, 2017 Brienen attended attended the Northwest Regional Hospital District board meeting in Terrace where directors had a discussion with Northern Health chief operating officer, Ciro Panessa.

“There was a presentation from Smithers. Smithers was about to loose their mammogram machine and there was some concern that it was not going to be replaced with a new model,” said Brienen.

Brienen said that at the meeting it was brought up that Terrace and Prince George both have mammogram machines.

“There was some concern about people in our area having to travel to Terrace or Prince George.”

Brienen said that the feedback that was received from Panessa.

“It looks like they are planning on replacing that machine in Smithers,” said Brienen.

Smithers also requested that council write a letter of support to have the mammogram replaced, which council agreed to.

Counsellor Tom Stringfellow asked, “Was there any discussion around after hours nurse?”

“No, the only discussion that was there was trying to determine what the staff levels are for the numbers of bed. I believe we are at the maximum number now,” said Brienen.

Brienen said this was brought up to discuss at what ratio does the Houston Health Centre needs staff to beds.

“So if we were talking about adding two or three beds, and we had to have an extra person on anyways, we were discussing as to how those numbers would work,” said Brienen.

Brienen said that Northern Health has confirmed to do a bed modeling study at all facilities starting in the fall.

“Myself and Rob Newall have asked to see what formula or criteria will be involved,” said Brienen.

“We would like to see data that supports the decisions. Our concern is that people are being move in and out and between communities.”

Counselor Tim Anderson the mayor reported on their meeting with Sandi Lavallie, instructor at the Houston Northwest Community College, to discuss the closure.

“The Northwest Community College seems to be heading in the direction of other colleges which is attracting more international students,” said Brienen. “They seem to be retracting back into Terrace. What I see is different directions there in what the community needs and what the college is providing.”

Brienen said it is a complicated issue. “But I think once we meet with the college next week, as a council and a community we’ll be able to come up with something that better suits our needs.”

“I found it disappointing that the press release stated that the college is underused, and hearing from Sandi about how busy it is down there and that if the program they put on are not within the scope that the college finds relevant then they don’t count them as steady use,” said counsellor Anderson. “I don’ think it’s right.”

“Who owns the Morice Skill Centre building beside the Houston college?” asked counsellor John Siebenga.

“Northwest Community College owns the building. The deal was that when the Morice Skill Centre closed down they gifted it to the Houston college for a dollar,” said Brienen.

On June 12 Houston council members met with NWCC president Ken Burt and other members to discuss the Houston NWCC college closure.

“They feel our campus numbers are low and do not support enough demand for service,” said Brienen. “They have also said a lot of service they provide doesn’t fit under their mandate and they plan on keeping the building to see if there is more demand in the next few years.”

“The college closure is a big blow,” said Brienen. “Council understands the community had a real need for the services that were provided at the campus and will discuss some options on how we can find someway to fill those gaps.”

Houston Today