An Update from your MLA
By David Coon
After a beautiful summer, we are well into fall, time to update you on what I have been doing before we return to the Legislature on November 19.
I just finished the fall round of community meetings to hear the concerns you would like to see addressed. A report on these meetings and the actions that I plan to take will be available shortly. Concerns ranged from inadequate health care and home care services to inadequate public transportation services and heritage conservation.
The committee that was established following the special meeting I held in the Spring on recycling and waste had its first meeting this fall to decide on its priority, which will be getting recycling services into apartment complexes.
The citizens’ committee advocating for an active transportation hub and pedway across Route 8 between Skyline Acres and UNB began meeting again this fall. The City has commissioned a technical feasibility study. Meanwhile, I will be taking the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure out to the site.
Both my youth and seniors’ roundtables have begun meeting since the summer, as well.
Toward the end of the last session of the Legislative Assembly, I proposed we create an all-party committee to recommend how to improve health care services in New Brunswick. Our health care system seems to have been unravelling for the past 20 years, and our needs are not being well met. I have met with the Premier, the Health Minister, and the Leader of the Official Opposition to seek their support for my proposal and have received positive responses. I want the committee to have the power to call witnesses from the public, from the health care system, and those with expertise in health care policy, to inform its recommendations for change. A vote in the Legislature will be needed to establish the health care reform committee.
In September, Beth Biggs from Save Officers’ Square and I met again with staff from the Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage to discuss their legal responsibilities for conserving the heritage of Officers’ Square. They assured us that an archeological impact assessment was underway and that no permits would be issued to the City for work that might disturb the soil until the results of the assessment were available. Furthermore, they told me they had not received the detailed plans for how the City intends to develop the square, so no permits applications were under review at the time. The removal of the wall from around the square surprisingly did not require a provincial permit as the wall itself, in their opinion, was not included in the heritage designation for Officer’s Square, only the decorative iron railing that ran along its top.
The Department of Education is contemplating major changes to our public education system. The Education Minister has issued a green paper on education which provides substantive details on the changes under consideration. I encourage parents, teachers and students to download a copy from the Department’s website and provide your feedback to me, and to the government through the official consultation webpage at consultation.EECD-EDPE@gnb.ca
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All the best