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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

The media took two clips rather than listening to the entire debate, which would provide context, says Ft. St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman on Site C story

While a recent story in Narwhal ran under a banner headline stating ...  

Send everybody home’: potential coronavirus outbreak at Site C dam a threat to Fort St. John, local officials say 

... the cities mayor, Lori Ackerman, told me their recent council meeting had, ‘absolutely nothing to do with the continued work at Site C, nor did it have anything to do with housing the workers at the camp at Site C’.

According to the story, Ackerman was reported saying their local hospital would be under “extreme pressure” if it had to accommodate sick people from outside the region, as well as ailing local residents.

But city Mayor Lori Ackerman told me that while two city councillors did discuss and debate Site C ... “The media took two clips, rather than listening to the entire debate, which would have provided context”.

Indeed, while councillor Byron Stewart did say he would prefer if the government would shut it (Site C) down, he also went on to stay that he felt, “... communication and compassion is more important than fear

Ft. St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman
In listening to the council meeting of March  24th, Ackerman made it clear any that discussion regarding the issue of COVID-19 in work camps, should not target any specific project.  

According to Ackerman to, “... to receive inpatients from any industrial camp in this area, at any time, that is entirely okay. These are residents of Canada -- and are more than entitled to use our healthcare -- just as if you or I were traveling to the Maritimes and needed healthcare”. 

We asked that any non-resident who ‘could’ be wrapped up in industrial personal protection equipment (PPE) and moved safely home, should be. These workers needed to be with their family or support systems. Fourteen days is a significant time when you are self isolating and the stress is high”, said Ackerman.  

And as for how their local medical people are faring with the current COVID-19 crisis?

We are keeping an eye on the stress level of our healthcare workers. Our healthcare system here is already under- pressured from being understaffed. This past fall, they closed any new admissions to our Seniors facility because of staffing.

She continued, “That is why the province is putting a nursing school here”.  

The University of Northern British Columbia’s (UNBC) program, according to the Ministry of Health, will be a five-semester, two-year bachelor of science in nursing program. The first class of 16 student spaces, to be operated out of Northern Lights College in Fort St. John, is expected to be up and running this fall.


According to the Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery agency, which falls under Mike Farnworth’s Public Safety Ministry, specific guidelines have been issued for industrial work camps to support their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to keep workers safe.

They are intended to provide staff and residents with accurate information about prevention and control measures, and to help minimize transmission within the camps.

The guidelines include: 

  • prevention measures and control in camps;
  • plans on how to manage individuals with suspected COVID-19 infection;
  • outbreak protocols;
  • support for camp residents who are self-isolating;
  • enacting physical distancing; and
  • ensuring sufficient infection-control supplies.


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