Original Published on Oct 20, 2022 at 08:09

Carberry MB mayor agitated by province’s Grey Cup bid as local health centre suffers

By Miranda Leybourne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The mayor of Carberry is frustrated that the province has added $5.5 million to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ bid to host a future Grey Cup, while his town’s health centre is lacking essential services.

The Carberry Health Centre is in dire need of a tub and shower room, said Stuart Olmstead, mayor of the town located 51 kilometres east of Brandon.

“I’m a Bomber fan, I love the Grey Cup. Yet at the same time, I’d also love for somebody’s grandmother or aunt or grandfather to be able to have a bath more than once a week. That’s what it comes down to,” Olmstead told the Sun late Tuesday afternoon.

Several meetings have been held between the local health action committee, town council and Prairie Mountain Health in the past few months, Carberry administration said in a Tuesday press release. But PMH has said funding for the installation of the tub and shower room will have to be locally sourced.

However, health care is a provincial responsibility and should not be handed down to local taxpayers, Olmstead said.

While he understands the provincial government is pulled in many directions when it comes to funding different initiatives, asking Carberry residents to donate enough money to cover the project’s $100,000 price tag seems like a “shakedown,” Olmstead said.

“It does seem like, at times, the region [PMH] and Shared Health are both taking the blame and at the same time are an insulated barrier between us and the province in receiving care. I know it’s not set up like that, but it certainly seems like there’s a middle layer that both sides can point to and say it’s their fault.”

Olmstead knows all too well how difficult it is to send a loved one away for treatment in a different community. His father, who died in 2020, had to live in a care home in Deloraine, 159 km southwest of Carberry.

“That was an hour and three quarters of a trip to go see him every week, to make sure that his mental stability and his mental health and well-being were taken care of.”

As with many other rural areas, health care in Carberry has been on a “steady level of decline,” the release said, noting the staffing shortages that have plagued the health-care system for some time.

“Health care should be the province’s number one priority now and well into the future until the system is stabilized. We fear that even with a whole-of-government approach to this crisis, it may be too late for some patients, staff, and communities to survive in its current state.”

Since the release was issued late Tuesday, the Sun couldn’t immediately obtain comment from Prairie Mountain Health or the province but will followup this week.

This item reprinted with permission from   Brandon Sun   Brandon, Manitoba

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